is a new documentary series on Netflix that has managed to do the impossible: temporarily distracting a world stressed by the outbreak of the . The seven-episode series, directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, focuses on Joseph Maldonado Passage – also known as Joe Exotic – and its exotic animal park in Oklahoma. As of Monday, it was number 1 in the streaming network.
When the show begins, Joe has an impressive blonde mullet, an extravagant wardrobe, several husbands, and a raging feud with Carole Baskin, the owner of a big cat sanctuary. All of this is as tame as a bowl of warm milk compared to what's next. Every element in Tiger King becomes stranger, andhas a secret, an imperative strange event in their history, or dozens of everyone. Joe runs for president and governor, aspires to a country music career, makes bizarre videos suggesting that his rival fed her missing husband to her tigers, and so much more.
It's a strange consolation to take refuge in this special brand of American craziness. For viewers who isolate themselves in their homes, this is a reminder that the world before the corona virus was strange in so many different ways. If God wills and the creek doesn't rise, one day there will be a chance to be that weird again.
Since the series started streaming on March 20, dozens of news and interviews have dealt with the real people and events behind the show. A few spoilers ahead, but if you've already watched the series, read on for nine juicy treats that the show itself didn't reveal.
1. This is (mostly) not Joe singing.
In several episodes Joe brags about his singing career and songs like "I Saw a Tiger" can be heard. But anyone with ears can say that the polished voice of a country music veteran who sings the melodies has nothing to do with Joe Exotic's depressed voice. Real musicians Vince Johnson and Danny Clinton were the real musical force behind Joe's Milli Vanilli Act. Johnson told Vanity Fair that they worked for free and thought they were making a name for themselves through a reality show about Joe's life. (Clinton died in October, TMZ reports.) Show directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin told the LA Times that a fact-finder had found out that Joe had sung something on certain songs, and they decided not to point him out Show.
2. Don't blame the tiger for this missing hand.
In the first episode Kelci Saffery, one of Joe's employees, is seen immediately after being bitten by a tiger. Saffery has the injured hand amputated instead of undergoing numerous operations, returns to work just five days later, and shows up with a stump throughout the show. Saffery has said from the start that no one should blame the tiger, and although this is not mentioned below, the tiger was not put down. In a 2013 statement, Saffery said, "I broke the protocol and put my hand in a cat cage instead of using the included stick." Actor David Spade interviewed Saffery in a video that was released on March 27. "I just got complacent," Saffery said of the injury. And the tiger didn't pay the ultimate price for the bite. "(The tiger) was not put down, we simply removed it from the park and no longer exhibited it," said Saffery.
3. John Finlay fixed his teeth
David Spade, who admitted being obsessed with the show, not only interviewed Saffery, but also a number of other Tiger King actors, including John Finlay, one of Joe Exotics Romantics partner. Finlay was remarkable on the show because he had few visible teeth, but now he has full dentures and is almost unrecognizable. "It took a while," he told Spade about his dental surgery. "But after I properly repaired them, they were perfect." Finlay told Spade that repairing his teeth was more painful than getting his 51 tattoos, and that the wedding to three grooms in a pink shirt featured on the show was all Joe's idea.
4. These alligators were famous
Tiger King mainly deals with the big cats, although in one of the episodes the reptile inhabitants of the park have a sad story when their enclosure catches fire. In his video interview, John Finlay told David Spade that some of the alligators in the exotic animal park came from Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. He also said that working with crocodiles and alligators is more dangerous than working with the big cats, also because of the huge and threatening tails of the reptiles. Finlay also said that he has no contact with Joe Exotic at all, plans to cover up any tattoos of Joe's name, and is now engaged to a woman.
5. The accident in which John Reinke took his legs was worse than described.
John Reinke, a former manager at Joe Exotic Zoo, is often shown how he puts his artificial legs on and off and explains that he doesn't need them because of a cat attack, but because of a previous accident. Like everything in Tiger King, that's only half of the dramatic story. Reinke already explained the accident to the newspaper The Oklahoman in 2010. Although he describes it as a ziplining accident on the show, the article describes it as a bungee jump accident – it was certainly a fall from a terrible height. Not only did a pulley malfunction, Reinke fell 55 feet to the ground and crushed his legs, but he didn't just land on earth. He fell on a 6-inch metal pole and pierced his colon and belly, the newspaper reports. He later had more than 20 operations on his feet and legs.
6. Shaq is not Joe Exotic's friend
Tiger King gets so weird that viewers may forget that NBA star Shaquille O & # 39; Neal appears briefly in one episode. But on March 25, O & # 39; Neal said in a big podcast with Shaq that the two are not friends. He said he loved tigers and visited the park a couple of times, but "had no idea that it was all going on." He said he still loved the animals and made donations to support them, but was not close to Joe Exotic. "I was just a visitor," said O & # 39; Neal on the podcast. "I met this guy, not my friend, I don't know him, never had a business relationship with him." And don't go to the athlete's house to see big cats, though he could certainly afford them. "Do I personally have Tiger in my house?" Said O & # 39; Neal. "No."
7. Stroking the boys has a dark side
Joe Exotic makes money by asking visitors to come to his exotic animal park and take photos cuddling with the big cat boys. But directors and writers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin told the LA Times that they never gave in and cuddled the kittens, especially based on what they saw. "Most of the tigers we were with were subjected to bitter cruelty," said Chaiklin. "We saw babies being torn from their mothers and crying. They got sick from being treated so often and getting ringworm and mange. It was worrying."
8. Carole's missing husband is still missing
Much of the series focuses on Joe Exotic's archenemy, activist Carole Baskin, whose husband Don Lewis disappeared in 1997. Joe Exotic, who is now 22 years in prison on Baskin charges, repeatedly claims in the series that Baskin killed James and fed the remains to her big cats. On the website of Big Cat Rescue, their animal organization, Baskin refutes how it was presented in the documentation. "(The directors) didn't care about the truth," she says. "The unsavory lies are better for getting viewers." As for Don James himself, his disappearance remains a mystery. On Monday, Hillsborough,to someone with clues about calling him.
9. Joe loves advertising. Moron.
You couldn't see Tiger King for more than a minute and you couldn't tell that Joe Exotic loved fame and publicity. Despite being in prison now, the LA Times directors said Joe knew the show made him famous and he was overjoyed. "He is absolutely thrilled with the show and the idea of being famous," Goode told the newspaper. "He is absolutely thrilled." And the directors don't buy Joe's sudden change of heart. "He is in a cage and of course he will say that he now realizes what he did to these animals," said Goode.