It’s totally understandable that Netflix would want to quickly capitalize on the success of Tiger King. The docuseries about the feud between zoo owner Joe Exotic and animal rights activist Carole Baskin captured the imagination of the world and has been a nice distraction from you-know-what. So, it’s laudable that they decided to give audiences more of what they craved in the form of a bonus episode catching up with some of the cast.
This was an opportunity to see their thoughts on how they were portrayed in the show, correct some misapprehensions about them and update us on what they’ve been doing since the events of the final episode. The idea is great. The execution, however, considerably less so.
Due to current circumstances, the whole episode was produced remotely, with the interviews taking place over Skype. And unfortunately, there are two big names who aren’t involved. For one, Joe Exotic is currently incarcerated and it might be legally awkward for him to give a lengthy interview given that he may actually get pardoned. And Carole Baskin also didn’t appear, though given that she’s claimed that the Tiger King creators misrepresented her, that’s not a big surprise.
But the biggest issue is its choice of presenter, Community‘s Joel McHale. I’ll let social media take over with their reactions to his style:
— TV Theorist (@theorist_tv) April 13, 2020
— Ray Nimmo (@Ray_Nimmo) April 12, 2020
Not even bothering with that extra episode of Tiger King. It's just Joel McHale desperately needing to insert himself into a trending conversation to stay relevant. pic.twitter.com/g5KLawEBb3
— Indah (@indahsuria_) April 12, 2020
Why the fuck is Joel Mchale doing these interviews?? His questions are trash. His jokes are even worse. This had potential, but he SUCKS ?
— Lyr (@lyrbaby) April 13, 2020
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Joel mchale was probably the worst decision they could have made
— eric ferguson (@EricFerguson820) April 13, 2020
— Elvin Tejada (@The_TwitTweeter) April 13, 2020
However, it’s not all bad news. The actor does pick up one notable bit of praise for using the correct pronouns for one of the participants and many people didn’t mind his style:
omg joel mchale using saff’s proper pronouns in the new tiger king episode after the wrong pronouns being using throughout the whole documentary is so nice to see!!!
— sigrid (@great_sigrid) April 13, 2020
Joel McHale actually using the correct pronouns for Saff makes me so happy
— Jorden (@cap_jrm) April 13, 2020
Shoutout to Joel McHale for not misgendering Saff and being kind when asking if the misgendering bothered him.
— jubilation lee (@DBSK) April 13, 2020
That "bonus" episode of Tiger King was hot garbage. Unnecessary. Unappealing. Someone at Netflix misjudged the psychology behind our collective binging.
With that said, Joel McHale was brilliant. His quips were spot on, he treated everyone fairly, and voiced many of my thoughts.
— Heather Valley of Plenty Merriweather (@MorroBayHeather) April 13, 2020
I’m with the comment above on this. The Tiger King bonus episode was unnecessary and unappealing. While a big part of its success is gawping at the screwed up behavior of its characters, I don’t necessarily want to outright point and laugh at them like McHale did. The episode also makes me hope that the rumored second season doesn’t happen, as it seems that the quest for more drama would just be unnecessarily jabbing the hornet’s nest.