Share this story...
tiger king
Latest News

Tiger King’s unsavory portrait and typical blindspot

One of the 39 tigers rescued in 2017 from Joe Exotic's G.W. Exotic Animal Park yawns while relaxing at the Wild Animal Sanctuary on April 5, 2020 in Keenesburg, Colorado. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

The Netflix series Tiger King drew 35 million viewers in its first 10 days of release, likely qualifying as the most successful documentary in television or movie history.

For one industry, pandemic damage may be permanent

Producer-director Eric Goode presents a rich cast of indescribably weird, real-life characters, linked through the exploitation of exotic animals and tastes for decadent, unconventional sex, meth and cocaine, business crookery, elaborate tattoos and, quite possibly, murder.

It’s an unflattering portrait of an unsavory slice of Mid-American life with a conspicuous lack of context.

The story unfolds mostly around a private zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, a deeply Christian, tiny town at the “Buckle of the Bible Belt,” but religion or church get scant mention in seven hours – aside from brief, contemptuous reference to the Evangelical background of two morally compromised characters.

Yes, it’s compelling to watch, but Tiger King displays the typical Hollywood blindspot to the enduring force of faith in “flyover country” between the coasts.

Most Popular