Hey there cool cats and kittens, Mary here to describe to you in great furry detail how totally fucked up and deranged Tiger King is.
First things first, we can all agree that Carole Baskin made minced tiger food, all organic (unless Don Lewis smoked) out of hubby no 2. Howard Baskin, who is hubby no 3, better stay tightly tethered to her pussy patrol — or else. Accidents around big cats are a regular thing. Just ask Joe Exotic who was trying to film a very enlightening reality show about living on the edge of nature.
Before Joe decided to run for president, he was trying to become a reality star. Joe running for president is only marginally less bizarre than Donald Trump running for president. As far as exotic, one has tigers and gay/straight husbands who are only using him for his
tigers money. The other has gold toilets and wives who are only using him for his money. Both have thrones. Although Joe’s is in the middle of an Oklahoma mud pit surrounded by chain link cages. Joe has Carole; Donald has Hillary. And Joe is ready to take on the world! The episode opens with his ‘hit’ country single “Bring It On” — one of his many odes to despising Carole. Fucking. Baskin.
Carole Fucking Baskin (and her 51 flavors of cat-themed crazy). After years of trolling Joe through malls across America like a 1980’s teenage Tiffany fan, Carole and Howard are finally able to take Joe to court for, of all silly things, copyright infringement. In a move that might be genius if it weren’t so, well, obviously, obvious Joe decided to form Big Cat Entertainment to promote his cub petting, aping the logo from Carole’s Big Cat Rescue. Right down to copying the snow leopard eyes from their masthead.
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Joe even goes so far as to register the company with a Florida address and phone number so Carole’s fans tuning in to see whether or not Frosty pooped today believe the organizations are the same or associated. Since Saint Carole is Cublic Enemy Number One to animal stunt queens like Joe and Doc Antle, this is not good for soliciting the donations and free labor she needs to run Joe’s RV’s off the road of success and keep Big Cat Rescue alive.
Enter savior Howard. It turns out he went to law school BC (Before Carole) and they haul Joe into court. Howard thought the threat alone would scare Joe off their tails. No he didn’t. Howard has been watching Joe shoot blow-up dolls in flower crowns on his TEEVEE show for years. He knew this was the equivalent to a tiger smelling sardine oil on sneakers and Joe would definitely react. So Joe made a website asking for tips about where Don went. Has anyone checked Frosty’s petrified poops? Which I’m sure Carole has on the mantle as part of her Big Cat Artifacts collection.
I mean, a meth addict with more tattoos than teeth can spot the similarities between Big Cat Rescue and Big Cat Entertainment, but Joe still filed a countersuit against Carole.
Instead of buckling down and playing nice, Joe continued to antagonize Carole while their legal battle was still waging. He dressed up as a white rabbit to stage a protest outside of Big Cat Rescue to expose Carole for abusing animals too. Joe claims a former volunteer sent him a photo of grinning BCR employees bashing
Don rabbits over the head for tiger food. This is when you’ve achieved Cult Leader Status: when you can convince UNPAID volunteers to kill innocent animal as a joyful bonding experience.
Carole rationalizes that they were just excited Frosty got to eat, but it was all the ammunition Joe needed to ramp up his obsession about Carole Fucking Baskin being a hypocrite psycho. I mean, he’s not wrong… Carole has big cats in cages and used to sell cub petting. Carole, like Joe, is master of their own domain and uses exotic wildlife as a buffer to maintain this delusional kingdom.
In retaliation for the rabbit exposé That Bitch Carole Baskin went haaaaard after Joe. Shortly before the trial a judge decided to issue a summary judgement dismissing Joe’s countersuit and awarding the Baskin’s one million dollars. Joe blames Carole Fucking Baskin (and that bitch Howard too) for getting in the judge’s ear without giving him his day in court.
Just picture Carole holding a hairless tiger, pinky up to her lips, sneering ONE. MEEEEEEEELLLLLIOOOON. DOLLARS. BWHAHAHAHAHAHA. As Howard crouches beside her staring adoringly.
Obviously, Joe, a man buying 4-Wheelers for straight men who pretend to love him to pet tigers and is feeding said tigers expired meat he dumpster dived from Walmart, doesn’t have a million dollars. Joe’s zoo was already hanging on about as tight as that eyebrow ring. Also if Joe had a million dollars, he’d probably buy polar bears and put them in a hot tub. A hot tub that’s in the back of a limousine. *It’s really REALLY not funny to have to make jokes about animal abuse, but this is where we are in a time of Tiger King.
Using the enormous platform of the TV show he ‘filmed’ in his garage, Joe goes for broke to seek revenge. He reads Carole’s financial records and diary aloud, using his CVS readers. He decides to do an entire avant-garde performance art series on the fictional ways Carole should hypothetically die. Such installations included hauling a mannequin named “Carole” out to the man-make lake on Tiger Lane and blowing her up, or threatening to put her head in a jar, or making a music video of her feeding a fake Don to a starving Tiger. Ranting like an rabies-infested animal, it was the rise of the Carole “Fucking” Baskin era, and what we know about end of empires is that when the hedonism is too great, the empire starts to fall.
It became the ultimate game of cat and mouse, and Carole was the big cat. She had time to kill and donations to burn. Carole traced down the ownership of every one of Joe’s sparkly belt buckles. Joe frantically tried to transfer all his assets into someone else’s name: Travis, John, his parents. So Carole went after them too. She practically bankrupted Joe’s elderly parents. I mean, CAROLE. GIRL. I want to have empathy for you because a crazy redneck with a dangerous animals and a gun fetish is getting up on a fake TeeVee show to pretend murder you, but when you come for the innocent elderlies my sympathy evaporates faster than the manmade lake at the G.W. Zoo.
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Joe and Carole were in an all-consuming obsession with each other. Like a doomed Shakespearean tragedy. Any asset Carole wanted, Joe blew up. Literally. I seriously hope he loaded them all up in a trailer he DID NOT LEGALLY OWN and drove them to Carole’s house to personally deposit a pile of burned, sex-stained mattresses, reeking of Designer Imposters Cologne, onto Carole’s front porch.
Around the same time that he was losing his zoo, Joe began trying to sell a reality show about his larger than life, well, exotic life. Enter Rick Kirkam, a producer from LA notorious for battling a crack addiction. It was Rick who brought Travis Maldonado into the fold by casting him to move out to Oklahoma and work at the zoo. (This wasn’t in the docu-series but I have done research, my friends).
Joe wanted someone to profession-up his internet show where the only plot was torturing Carole Fucking Baskin, and Rick offered to do so if Joe granted him access to the zoo and signed over rights to all footage. An exploitative reality TV producer at his core, and looking for the ultimate prey, Rick spotted Joe a mile away. “Joe’s ego was so big. Way bigger than his little life. He would’ve done anything to be famous.”
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It was Rick who started calling Joe “Tiger King.” But what happens when an animal starts to feel caged? They lash out!
Spurned on by a camera crew filming him 24/7, Joe used his TV show to amp up his Carole Fucking Baskin hate to 11. Other home zoo owners warned him that taking on Crazarole was a big mistake. Joe was in so deep with his obsession that he started ignoring the zoo and the proper running of it. All while Rick was filming constantly, exhausting himself and probably putting too much faith in the idea that Joe had even a smidge of sanity or common sense.
Just as Rick was negotiating with a network (you know it was Bravo!) to sell the show, which would’ve earned Joe enough to pay off Carole and eventually earn plenty more, a ‘random’ freak fire broke out in the alligator building, which also happened to house Rick’s studio. ALL OF THE FOOTAGE WAS DESTROYED because Rick made the most rookie mistake of all time: he did not backup his work. I mean, duuuuuude! The collective IQ of every single person in this show is 85. Doc Antle owns about 80 of those percentage points.
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Right from the get-go, the sheriff’s department identified the fire as arson. But who did it?! Joe blamed Carole Fucking Baskin (and animal rights groups). Naturally. Then decided Rick was conspiring with Carole who allegedly offered him $20k for the footage. All roads lead back to That Bitch Carole Fucking Baskin™ (TBCFB). Carole admits to contacting Rick to warn him about what a heinous creature Joe is, but Rick knew his footage was worth far more than $20k and didn’t respond.
The alligators, once owned by Michael Jackson, were John Finlay‘s favorite. This seems to be when John started having an awakening about who exactly he was married to! Carole should’ve reached out to him instead! Will sell husband up shit creek for new teeth!
However Rick (and everyone else, including John) is convinced it was Joe, anxious to avoid certain footage Rick shot (like of of zoo manager John Reinke performing vet work on tigers without a medical license, and other, well I don’t even want to imagine!) from being aired. Shortly after an argument with Rick about Joe’s rights to the footage, Joe threatened to find someone who needed “ten grand” and the fire suspiciously broke out.
Joe’s alibi was that he was at a funeral out of state. It was the beginning of the end of Joe Exotic. Rick bailed. Carole was still coming for her money like a tiger smelling anchovies, and Joe had nothing left to sell (including a reality show) to make money from.
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Even John was being sued by Carole Fucking Baskin and with all their money going to lawyers and fees the animals weren’t being adequately fed. Joe was desperately breeding tigers to sell cubs and do pettings in the hopes of retaining control of his zoo. He was so desperate he tried to negotiate a lower payment with Howard. Just as Howard was about to agree to the terms, Carole intervened. Not only did Carole want Joe’s parents house as collateral but she decided NO DEAL unless Joe stopped breeding. Which was literally his only way to make money! CAROLE. FUCKING. BASKIN. Was the plan always for Carole to seize control of the zoo and the animals within it? It would be the ultimate revenge coup!
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Joe was in the five stages of death and dying, and transitioned from anger to grief/depression/denial. Joe turned to God. And suddenly Jesus fixed it by introducing miracle angel investor Jeff Lowe. What did Vicki Gunvalson teach us about Satan being confusing?! Jeff was a Trojan horse, straight out of 2005’s worst nightmare of a rich player.
Jeff is a wannabe Jesse James, in Rock & Republic jeans and Ed Hardy t-shirts. He wears a do rag, ran around Vegas like he owned the place, and drove a Hummer. Do they even make those small dick over-compensating machines anymore? Apparently, Jeff dug them out of the same time machine where he found his pants. In actuality, Jeff is short, balding, has a face like a Cabbage Patch Kid, and somehow, mysteriously, a hot wife who validates his high opinion of himself. Joe believed Jeff had the money to fight Carole. Once again Joe was wrong.
The one thing Jeff does have is street smarts. He quickly realized he could exploit Joe’s desperation and also use Joe to borrow from Peter to pay Paul. Jeff started bringing cubs to Vegas and hosting private pettings (of himself and cubs) in hotel rooms for instagram fodder. He bought a mobile cub petting bus to drive around Vegas.
Jeff wooed Joe with all-expense paid trips to Vegas to stay in his mansion, took him for rides in Ferraris, and convinced him that his motivation was that he needed a place to store his own big cats. The mansion was rented. The Ferrari was repo’d. Jeff didn’t have a dime other than what he grifted from someone else. Without even realizing it Joe went from predator, master of his own domaine, to prey; paralyzed by his own delusions of grandeur.
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Joe didn’t know this at the time, though, because research and due diligence are not in his limited vocab. So Jeff convinced Joe that the ultimate way to get Carole off his tail was to sign over the rights to the zoo to him. That way Carole wouldn’t be able to seize it unless she started a new round of lawsuits against Jeff. Joe assumed he would continue to be ‘the face’ – the Joe Exotic Tiger King – but Jeff had other ideas. He wanted to be tiger king, he just had to overthrow the despotic leader to do so.
TELL US – WAS CAROLE BEING TOO HARD ON JOE OR DID HE DESERVE IT?
[Photo Credits: Netflix]