When people around the United States suddenly found themselves confined to their homes in the middle of March, there was nothing they needed more than a good distraction. Unfortunately, the catalyst for our new reality was also responsible for making sports essentially extinct and there was no telling when the void would be filled.
Now, we may not have ultimately been treated to the day of college basketball that we were promised on March 20th but we arguably got something better in the form of Tiger King.
Netflix had released dozens of documentary series since Making a Murderer took the world by storm in 2015 but the saga of Joe Exotic is the only one that’s managed to come close to generating the same amount of hype and intrigue.
Before we continue, I should admit I still haven’t watched Tiger King. I know, I know. My attention span has permitted me to finish maybe nine television series in their entirety over the course of my life. I don’t have any issues with a three-hour movie if it’ll bring me some enjoyment but I just don’t have the commitment required to sit through multiple seasons of most shows.
What’s that. No, I’ve never been in a long-term relationship. Why do you ask?
However, Tiger King became such a huge part of the pop culture conversation that I almost feel like I’ve seen it. Did Carole Baskin kill her husband? Why does Joe Exotic have so many different names? Why is that guy on a jetski? I’m not really sure what all of those questions are referring to but the fact that I know them tells you what a big deal it was.
It didn’t take long for TMZ to figure out a way to ride the Tiger King wave, and now, Animal Planet has decided to get in on the action with Surviving Joe Exotic, a documentary special that will examine the fate of the animals who managed to escape G.W. Zoo without getting shot in the head and dumped in a ditch by the man who once owned it.
Meet the animals who survived the #TigerKing and watch one of Joe Exotic’s last formal interviews before his arrest. → https://t.co/sSdIYSZHKj#SurvivingJoeExotic premieres Saturday July 25 at 10p on @AnimalPlanet. pic.twitter.com/A4mtuhjBgO
— Animal Planet (@AnimalPlanet) July 16, 2020
The special will focus on former inhabitants at the Oklahoma park featured in Tiger King and explore the struggles they’ve faced since being rescued—including Chobe and Kariba, a pair of lions who were traumatized by inbreeding and had to be rehabilitated at a sanctuary in Oregon. It will also feature one of the last interviews with the Tiger King himself before he was incarcerated in addition to familiar faces like Saff Saffery, who lost an arm while working at the park.
Will this answer any of the most pressing questions on everyone’s mind after watching the series? Probably not, but any Tiger King content is better than no Tiger King content at all.