Monday, March 30, 2020

I watched this: Tiger King

By this point, I'm sure you've heard about the batshit "Tiger King" documentary series and while I originally didn't plan to watch (because I am EXTREMELY booked with rewatching Laguna Beach), I opted in because the decider of all my important life choices, Chrissy Teigen, decided to. (And also because my friend Laura requested this and I always deliver.)

In general, this series is what I imagine grows when you plant a bunch of Ed Hardy shirts into a flowerbed of cigarette butts and meth and water them with Monster energy drinks. Also, despite this all taking place between like 2015-2019, everyone and everything looks like the year 1985.

This series features some of the most bonkers, ignorant white people shit I've ever seen. So here we go!

The basics

Duration: 7 episodes that are about 45 minutes each, so easily bingeable. However, after you've watched, you're gonna want to take the longest, hottest, soapiest shower because of how dirty you'll feel. I mean physically dirty. Every single person in this doc is like that Charlie Brown character Pig-Pen. Just a constant aura of dirt. 

Netflix summary: "A zoo owner spirals out of control amid a cast of eccentric characters in this true murder-for-hire story from the underworld of big cat breeding." As a note, this is the first time in history these nouns have all been used together in a sentence.

My summary: Above all, this series is:
In more detail, Joe Exotic and his mullet run a "zoo" (HEAVY EMPHASIS ON THOSE AIR BUNNIES) in Oklahoma that's mostly full of tigers, lions and druggies. He wears ugly, shiny shirts and puts on "shows" and enjoys hearing his own voice on a microphone. His arch nemesis, Carole, thinks he's a monster who shouldn't keep tigers in cages. Meanwhile, she runs a "rescue" that keeps tigers in cages. Everyone wants money and fame. Drama ensues. In the biggest twist of the series, the entire thing doesn't take place in Florida.

Now let's meet the main players....

Joe owns the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, so he's the centerpiece of this redneck picnic. He wears shoelaces randomly tied around his thighs and always has a gun holstered in case he needs to pull it out to shoot stray bullets into the air like Yosemite Sam. If you're wondering what happened to all of those Forever21 jackets after they declared bankruptcy, he definitely bought them all.

People pay to see his big cats and take pics with the baby tigers at this zoo. Joe also has a web series that he says airs "on the internet" (oh okay that place, okay gotcha) and there are cameras filming all the time. For a while, he also tours various malls and venues with some of his cats.

For most of the series, he's married to Travis (left) and John (right):
Both are like 19 when they first meet Joe. They all do drugs together, including meth (please reference John's teeth in the "biggest crimes" section below). Joe keeps them around for years and years by gifting them guns and trucks and I assume Mountain Dew. John eventually runs away with the zoo's front desk girl and they have a baby. Travis starts to feel trapped and is upset that he can't leave and can't get a job and above all, he wants more weed. He tragically shoots himself in the zoo's front office in front of Joe's campaign manager, Josh.

Joe is distraught because he's gone from two husbands to zero. He deals like anyone would, by running for public office. First attempting to run for president before leveling down to just casually  run for governor of Oklahoma. He runs as a libertarian, which his campaign manager points out he does not know the meaning of.
FYI this is his campaign manager. Joe knows Josh because he works at the local Wal-Mart, running the guns and ammo section. Joe obviously doesn't win the governor's race, but does garner 19% of the libertarian vote which I think illustrates all we need to know about libertarians (lolololol).

Also, he marries this fetus two months after Travis' death:
Joe invites Travis' mom, who attends thinking she'll just be one of many guests. She shows up and it's just her and a camera person, meaning this was a PR stunt for Joe to give off the image that even Travis' mom is fine with him moving on so quickly.

More on Joe in a bit, but let's move on to....

This is Carole and her third husband Mitch McConnell. Now, we can't get through one bat shit crazy doc in the U.S. without some sort of tether to Florida, so she runs a big cat "rescue" in Tampa. Heavy emphasis on "rescue" because her tigers are also just in small fenced-in areas with no plan to be released into the wild. And she charges money for people to see them while NOT PAYING THE PEOPLE WHO WORK IN THE "RESCUE." She claims they're all "volunteers" even though they work 12-hour days, 6 days a week. So basically she is also a monster. We get like 45 scenes of her riding her bike in slow motion while wearing a flower crown, which is the producers way of foreshadowing later events.

Okay let's get to Carole's shit. She's loaded thanks to the money from her missing second husband, Don. Don and Carole met when she was 20. After getting out of an abusive marriage to her first husband, Carole marries Don who leaves his wife and kids for her. No one really knew how much money Don has, but everyone speculates around $5-10 million.
He's the one who gets her into the whole big cats thing, which is his hobby when he's not out trying to have sex with all moving objects. He regularly visits Costa Rica where there's less restrictions on breeding big cats and he has a girlfriend there.

Don and Carole obviously have a volatile relationship and he starts telling all of his friends that she's crazy and he plans to ask for a divorce. But before this can happen, he "disappears." Carole claims he left early one morning to go to Costa Rica and that was the last she saw of him, however....

Things that point to Carole being the one who did something to him:

1) His creeper ass van is found at a nearby airfield (he was a pilot) yet his bag and keys are inside. Also he didn't own a plane that could handle that long of a flight so why the hell is his van randomly at this airfield.

2) A few days before his disappearance, Don gave his assistant, Anne, a copy of a restraining order he tried to file on Carole, "just in case" something happens to him.

3) Carole doesn't even think to report him missing until Anne is like, yo girl he hasn't talked to anyone in two days, maybe report it.

4) Shortly after, Carole cuts the lock to Don's office and takes the two powers of attorney and two wills that were in Anne's office. The cops show up because her break-in sets off the alarm, but they can't do anything about his wife taking these docs.

5) A new "updated" power of attorney suddenly appears that Carole has prepared FOR Don, naming her as his power of attorney and executor of his will (instead of Anne who was originally named). The "updated" doc includes a line stating disappearance doesn't affect the power of attorney — seriously it pretty much says "Carole gets to decide what happens even if Don disappears." Don's attorney, who looks like a minor character from "Bewitched" or "I Love Lucy," agrees this is peculiar wording:
So to summarize, Carole is suspicious as hell and clearly really bad at criming, but lucky for her, the police are even worse at investigating. Exhibit A:
This man who CHOSE to decorate his house with creepy ass masks was the lead investigator, so anyway I guess you can tell why things ended the way they did.

Carole has to wait 5 years to officially declare Don dead, so at 5 years and 1 day she does and I'm sure she celebrated with a money bath. Carole being completely suss is something that Joe regularly brings up during their years long hatred for each other. More on that later, but first...

Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest
Let's talk about the stupidity from left to right:

Jeff is constantly wearing like 18 bandanas and 4 hats to hide the fact that he's bald. He met Joe in 2015 when he wanted to buy a tiger cub from him. After seeing how dire Joe's financial situation was, Jeff decided to invest in the zoo and keep some of his own tigers there. As a note, Jeff is perhaps the most disgusting man on this series that is comprised only of disgusting men (so it's saying a lot). He and his wife, who must've just graduated high school, are swingers who regularly go to Vegas to party. He gives off the impression that he has a lot of money, when in fact, his bank account is just full of Monopoly money. I'm honestly shocked he doesn't own a truck that is wrapped in confederate flag paraphernalia (or maybe we just didn't see it).

Allen is a convicted felon who has definitely committed more crimes than he's served time for. Jeff knows him from way back and brings him to work at the zoo. Allen refuses to listen to anything Joe requests, which pisses off Joe, but also everyone is afraid of Allen because he has a tear drop tattoo.

James is a devout user of the flat iron he got a few years back. He owns a couple strip clubs in town because it is his destiny since he is what all strip club owners in small towns look like. He lends Joe and Jeff $14K to open a pizza shop on the zoo grounds (note: people def got food poisoning from this pizza). He's into a lot of illegal shit too, including selling stolen cars.

Buildup to the shit hitting the fan
For most of the series, Joe and Carole's rivalry is petty foolery. Joe regularly makes Carole the focal point of his videos, often jokingly threatening her. Carole, in true Karen fashion, uses Facebook to discredit Joe. She also impedes on his mall touring with an email campaign to, it seems mostly JcPenney, asking them to not allow him to showcase his cats because it's cruel. In response, he names his traveling show "Big Cat Rescue Entertainment" to anger Carole and confuse people into thinking his show is somehow related to her. Carole eventually sues him for copyright infringement and wins and he stops touring.
This stupid back and forth between them continues over the years. As Joe's finances worsen, he hates and blames Carole more, and starts to flat out ask people if they know anyone who can off her (again, everyone in this series is very bad at criming). At some point, Joe talks about it with Jeff's grimy ass, who pulls up Google Earth to get an aerial view of Carole's home and the "rescue." Joe, who as a reminder is terrible at criming, then posts this image to his Facebook.
Remember when I said this series gives us entirely too may slo-mo shots of her riding her bike? Well that supreme act of filmmaking comes full circle as Joe and Jeff "joke" about how easy it would be to hide around certain corners and shoot her while she's out riding her bike.

This crapshoot really gets fired up after Jeff returns from a Vegas trip (ew) early because Joe has locked him out of accessing all of the bank accounts. After visiting the bank in person, the teller informs him that she thinks Joe is being investigated by the Feds because he used money from the zoo to pay for his campaign for governor. Just normal chit chat with your friendly bank teller. Jeff then confronts Joe about this and Joe decides to leave the zoo in Jeff's hands (since he's financing most of it by this point).

Before Joe leaves, he burns a bunch of documents because that is what innocent people do, duh.

The shit hath hitteth the fan....eth
After it's clear that Joe is the worst at criming and about to get into serious trouble, all of these other ding dongs realize they could get caught for their bad criming too and decide to turn on him. Jeff gets James to contact Carole and tell her they'll hand over everything they have on Joe if she pays them $500K. Carole forwards this to a special agent at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife service, who then calls James. The special agent meets with James and basically tells him he's fucked unless he helps with the Joe case, so James agrees to be an informant meaning everything is riding on this middle part.
James tells federal agents that Joe has hired Allen to kill Carole. Then Allen disappears, leading everyone to believe he's actually on his way to do it. But remember, Allen is an idiot. He ends up getting sidetracked and heads to South Carolina to party instead.

Foiled trying to nail Joe, federal agents then plant an undercover agent as another hit man offered up by James. But the only way to actually charge Joe with anything is if he pays or provides equipment (such as a burner phone) to the hit man. While Joe agrees to hire this undercover agent, he never pays him anything because he po'.

This last ditch effort by the Feds proves moot anyway because in a phone call between Jeff and
Allen, it's revealed that Joe actually did pay Allen — $3K.
I'm not exactly sure why this didn't come out before the whole planting of a federal agent as a hit man ploy, but as we've learned, everything is stupid.

At this point, Joe is sort of on the run. On Facebook, he tries to make it seem like he's in Belize, even though everyone can tell he's on a beach in Florida. Blah blah, the Feds catch him in a parking lot in Gulf Breeze.

His trial actually just concluded in January — he was found guilty of 19 federal charges (including murder-for-hire) and has been sentenced to 22 years in prison. A bunch of these charges include violating the Endangered Species Act as investigators dug up a bunch of tiger skeletons on the zoo's property (meaning he was killing them when they weren't useful for his shows).

The actual worst crimes
Alright so lots of shady, stupid shit happens over the course of this series, but to recap, the most heinous crimes are those against:

Don't do all drugs, but especially meth.

General hygiene
This is from the last episode after Tim, who is another one of these dirty, back country "animal lovers," decides he's not gonna open a giant zoo with Jeff. He and his monkey eat from the same piece of pizza while no one steers the car. Honestly, the monkey's mouth is probably cleaner than Tim's.

Again, this does not take place in the 80s. Wild.

Spelling & Grammar
In the last episode, we get to see Joe's first ex-husband getting a Joe-related tattoo covered. This reveals he has a bicep tattoo that reads "No Games Boy's." BOY'S. BOY APOSTROPHE S. I know we have bigger issues to deal with, but BOY'S.

In episode 1, Joe describes the 24/7 security services he has monitoring the zoo. Super highly trained gaurds.

Some other wtf moments

This guy
This Joker mask runs a safari zoo in Myrtle Beach and he's Joe's "mentor." Next to Jeff's creep ass, this guy gets the silver medal in the Makes-My-Skin-Crawl Olympics. He is so fucking gross and not just because of that nasty soul patch situation. To summarize: He has many women entrapped, I mean working, at his zoo and many of them have been working for him since they were teenagers. He's in relationships with several of them, so we're one cement compound away from this being a sex cult.

Also his name is Doc Antle, but ever since he did yoga that one time, he thinks he's enlightened and prefers to go by Bhagavan Antle. Thanks, I hate it.

Smoking around several containers of gasoline, why not!

The meat truck
This truckload of expired Walmart meat gets delivered every few days to feed the tigers. It also feeds the guys who work at the zoo because they're only paid $133 A WEEK.

The fire
Oh yeah, a case of arson happens because what kind of back country documentary would this be without fire. At some point, someone sets fire to Joe's "studio" slash alligator enclosure (why these two things are housed in the same place, I have no idea). It kills all of the alligators and destroys all of the footage captured for Joe's reality show shot by this guy:
The producer, who I believe might just be a bunch of cigarettes taped together dressed in a jacket and hat, believes Joe set the fire as a way to destroy all of the footage of him criming. Joe tries to convince everyone it was Carole's doing.

And lastly, this
Near the end of the series, we get this phenomenal scene of James, the snitch, riding on his jetski set to "Eye of the Tiger." I hope his ass gets thrown in jail eventually purely for his horrendous haircut. A crime against humanity.

And that's it! The main takeaway of this entire ordeal is that we should not give white people so many rights. Omg, I'm kidding, the main takeaway is Carole def killed her husband.

See you all soon! Til then find me shifting my attention to rewatching the filmography of Freddie Prinze Jr. (lolol jk just "She's All That") and also on Twitter (@cocoakristis) and Instagram (@kristimac9).

1 comment:

  1. Cocoakristis never disappoints! So hilarious, as always. Thank you for the roundout– I am glad to never watch this. Agree with all of the heinous crimes.

    I also support your FPJ filmography journey, he was my pre-teen heartthrob. I should tell you about the time my dad met him. And the time my friends and I threw a birthday party for him.