Why it’s time to say goodbye to Tiger King | Tiger King


To consider Tiger King is to instantly transport your self to the heady days of lockdown 2020. Keep in mind it? Keep in mind how full of synthetic goal all of us have been? We did Zoom quizzes with all our pals! We made banana bread! We clapped for frontline staff!

Wanting again, it appears comparatively clear that every one these issues have been silly. No person desires to spend extra time on Zoom than they’ve to. No person likes banana bread. The clapping didn’t change something. And as for Tiger King? With the advantage of hindsight, Christ, we selected the unsuitable present to obsess over. Wanting again, Tiger King was grubby and exploitative. When you’d crossed the “Are these folks for actual?” hurdle, you discovered your self sitting by way of a carnival of monstrous behaviour. Tiger King was the documentary equal of that previous Black Mirror episode: as enjoyable because it sounds to watch somebody have intercourse with a pig, on the finish of the day you even have to watch somebody have intercourse with a pig.

Sadly, Netflix didn’t get this specific memo. The algorithm stated that Tiger King was a success so, guess what, now we’ve bought masses extra Tiger King to wade by way of. Final month’s Tiger King 2 tried to hold the occasion going, however it was clearly operating on fumes. The story was over, members had backed out and the entire thing was pasted collectively from scraps. It was much less a documentary and extra a hopelessly padded out DVD additional. As such, the thrill that accompanied the primary season was noticeably duller the second time round.

Wise heads would have ended issues there. However Netflix, in all its infinite knowledge, has already churned out one more Tiger King collection. This one, Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story, takes the type of a real crime documentary, aimed toward a peripheral character from season one.

You’ll most likely bear in mind Doc Antle. We met him within the second episode of the primary Tiger King, operating an animal sanctuary that Joe Unique desperately wished to emulate. Antle wasn’t as massive a personality as Unique – who’s? – however there was one thing creepy and cultish about his time onscreen. Why have been all his workers younger girls? Was he married to all of them? Did he hold them in stables? Was there an even bigger story occurring?

Inevitably, sure. Netflix has requested reviewers not to reveal too many specifics about The Doc Antle Story, however the quick clarification is that Antle is just not an ideal man. Over the course of three episodes, we’re fed a sluggish drip of all his abuses. And there are numerous to get by way of: coercion, little one abuse, underage marriage, near-starvation, animal cruelty, foggy accusations of homicide. One after the other, victims and acquaintances from each stage of Antle’s life reveal a sample of behaviour that’s harrowing and ugly.

The Doc Antle Story, then, is just not Tiger King. It’s a few predator who takes what he desires with out care or thought. There may be not one of the dayglo sideshow fizz of Tiger King right here. Joe Unique, for all his apparent flaws, had a component of pleasure to him. That is the flipside. That is relentlessly dour.

Nonetheless, the manufacturing crew doesn’t appear to realise that. For some motive the Tiger King DNA is extra vital to them than the precise story, in order that they spend a lot of it gunning for kook. It’s nonetheless a cavalcade of unhealthy style and unlucky hair. The incidental music is lighthearted. At one level we’re handled to a clip of a person juggling chainsaws.

Doc Antle.
Doc Antle. {Photograph}: Netflix

It feels to me as if the producers set out to make an extension of Tiger King after which, after they realised that they’d really created a doc of systematic abuse, panicked. Tiger King itself may get away with being cartoonish, as a result of Joe Unique was jailed for tried homicide. There’s one thing darkly humorous about that, as a result of failure is baked into the cost. Had Unique really killed Carole Baskin, Tiger King wouldn’t have labored.

However Antle’s alleged abuse is unspeakably grim. It might’t be jollied up. The unhappiness overwhelms every part, and the producers’ varied makes an attempt to lighten the temper backfire hideously. Tiger King has at all times been grotty and exploitative. However this collection, stuffed with distraught victims whose lives have been ruined by the actions of 1 man, pushes the envelope too far.

By throwing out three collection within the house of a yr and a bit, you get the sensation that Netflix is making an attempt to create a franchise out of Tiger King; an expanded universe of all its gnarled and wrongheaded characters. Judging by The Doc Antle Story, the Tigerverse has already expanded far an excessive amount of. A pointy contraction is now so as.