Why the documentary Tiger King causes a sensation on Netflix


The miniseries shot in the United States became one of the greatest hits of the platform in times of isolation worldwide

The seven-episode documentary, whose full title is Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, is on track to unseat Stranger Things as the most successful work on the platform.

Only in the United States, and in the first 10 days after its premiere, 34.3 million viewers saw it, compared to 31.2 million for Stranger Things, according to data from the consulting firm Nielsen.

The series centers on the stark rivalry between big cat dealer Joe Exotic, also known as Tiger King, and owner of a reserve for these animals Carole Baskin.

Joe Exotic is actually Joseph Maldonado-Passage, a big cat breeder who until a few years ago owned and operated an exotic animal park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.

Wearing brightly colored shirts, a quirky haircut, and her penchant for provocation and exhibitionism, Joe Exotic is presented as an eccentric character who defines himself as “a gay big cat lover.”

In the documentary, he can be seen driving a truck with a huge tiger in the passenger seat, while singing country music songs. In addition, he participates in a reality show produced by himself and marries two men at the same time in a ceremony full of guests.

The other protagonist of the series is her eternal enemy, Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue, a big cat sanctuary located in Tampa, Florida, whose lights, shadows and oddities are shown throughout the documentary.

The great dispute between them ended with Joe Exotic in prison, where He is serving a 22-year sentence for crimes including attempting to hire someone to kill Baskin and other crimes related to endangered species and conservationism.

In the United States, there are between 5,000 and 10,000 tigers in captivity. Worldwide, there are only 4,000 of these animals free in their natural habitat.

The keys to success

Up to here, it could be thought that the series is a simple account of the confrontation between two people who move in the same business and, therefore, are competitors.

But the success of the documentary lies in the twists of the plot, according to BBC Mundo, in the surprises hidden in each episode, in the succession of interviewees, which stranger one that leaves the viewer with a feeling of disbelief and curiosity to know what happens next.

So, animal shows are mixed with arson, alliances that turn into betrayals, an unsolved disappearance, parks that look like sects, polygamous relationships, illegal feline and exotic animal transactions and undercover investigations by the United States federal government.

There is no rest in this work that combines the outlandish with the comic and that at times produces other people’s shame and discomfort, while leaving a feeling of sadness for the fate of its true protagonists: the big cats.

Several of the people participating in the series have protested the final result that appears on the screens.

This is the case of Mahamayavi Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, owner of a big cat safari in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, who maintains that when he agreed to collaborate in the series he did it believing that it would be a documentary about his work in defense of these animals.

He ignored, he says, that the most morbid details of his lifestyle were going to appear, which he shares with several women whom he seems to control as if he were the leader of a sect.

But without a doubt, the most annoying with the producers of Netflix is ​​Carole Baskin herself, despite the fact that she participates voluntarily in individual interviews and with her current husband, Howard Baskin.

The problem is that the documentary He pays attention to the case of Baskin’s former husband, Don Lewis, who mysteriously disappeared in August 1997.

Some of the people appearing in the miniseries point to Baskin for having murdered him. There are even those who denounce that the woman gave the remains of the corpse to the cats or that she dissolved it in acid, something that she considers “absurd” and for which she has never been formally accused.

In a long post shared on social media, according to BBC World, Baskin writes: “The series has a segment dedicated to suggesting, with lies and innuendo from people who are not credible, that I had a role in the disappearance of my husband Don 21 years ago. years”.

“The series presents this without any respect for the truth or in most cases without giving me an opportunity to rebut the absurd accusations before publication.”

Baskin has never been formally charged in connection with the disappearance of Don Lewis.

However, with the success of the Netflix miniseries, the sheriff’s office at the helm of the investigation announced that it is open to new information.

On the other hand, the name of Joe Exotic reached the daily press conference that US President Donald Trump offers about the coronavirus.

When asked by a reporter about whether he would consider granting a presidential pardon to the king of the tigers, Trump jokingly replied, “I will study it.”

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