Tiger King, the surprise Netflix breakout of 2020, has dropped out of the streaming service’s top 10 for the first time since it was released just over a month ago. The show, part real-life drama, part documentary, part fiction (who knows which parts), followed the lives of American big cat owners over the course of several years, eventually zeroing in on self-professed “Tiger King” Joe Exotic’s notorious fall from grace – though grace is a very loose way to describe his lifestyle up to the show’s conclusion.
Released amidst the Great Lockdown, Tiger King inadvertently found a huge homebound audience. With nations mandating their citizens to stay at home in order to halt the spread of coronavirus, those citizens have now taken up streaming like never before. In fact, the show had over 30 million viewers within its first 10 days of release.
Staggering figures, I know. I wasn’t one of those to catch it in that period, a period when you could do nothing but deal with people imploring you to watch it. But having first seen the BBC’s own “Tiger King” documentary from years previously (a Louis Theroux piece well worth seeking out), I felt inclined to pick up the new show. And I’m glad I did.
Though geared primarily for brash entertainment – as opposed to Theroux’s subtler approach – the endless litany of chauvinists, cultists, plotters, rotters and psycho megalomaniacs straight out of the movies made for constantly ghastly but never less than compelling viewing. To top it off, the madness gets underpinned by an animal tragedy it appears to have ignored until a remarkable final scene. Not a think piece, but surprisingly poignant. That’s Tiger King – American grotesquery on roller skates. Comments of your own are welcome down below.