Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ is the show we’re all hooked on during the pandemic

April 1, 2020

It’s not exactly a National Geographic documentary. It comes across more like a Christopher Guest “mockumentary” (such as Spinal Tap or Best in Show), says Boston Globe Correspondent Lauren Daley, but it’s all real—and America is #Obsessed.

We’re a nation in quarantine, and, with a seemingly infinite number of programs to stream, many of us have apparently opted for “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” on Netflix.

What, exactly, is the show’s appeal? It’s billed by Netflix as a “true murder-for-hire story from the underworld of big cat breeding,” featuring a “cast of eccentric characters.” But Daley can only say, “It’s so much more.

She’s fascinated by larger-than-life characters like Joe Exotic, a mulleted big-cat lover who also makes his own music videos; and Doc Antle, who rides elephants, and comes across like a Will Ferrell character.

Combine them with a three-person wedding, breakups, a common enemy, in-fighting, love, a mystery surrounding a disappeared millionaire, a torn-off limb, and a multitude of cats—and you’ve got a binge-watching bonanza.

As soon as “Tiger King” debuted, Daley writes in the Globe, a home-bound audience around the country became glued to their screens—including more than a few actors who are now sitting home dreaming about the eventual Hollywood biopic. (“I mean, there has to be one, right?” she speculates.)

Following the show’s debut on March 20, Twitter (and other social media) blew up with suggested “dream cast” members—among them, the actors Danny McBride or David Spade (to be cast as Joe Exotic), Katherine O’Hara as Carole Baskin, Jim Gaffigan or Will Ferrell as Antle …. The lists go on.

Dax Shepard—most recently seen as Mike on “Bless this Mess” on ABC-TV— tweeted: “If I don’t get cast as Joe Exotic in the eventual biopic, Hollywood is broken.” He followed that by posting a photoshopped image of himself with a mullet and a tiger, just to show how committed he would be to the role.

However, not everyone was on board with that (potential) casting. Oscar-nominee and Boston native Edward Norton countered: “Um, step aside, pal. You’re way too young and buff and you know it.”

And he was not the last to be heard from. Comedian Dane Cook chimed in as well: “I already got asked but I’m sure there is a villain role supporting me we could slot you in. #howdareyou.”

Now, the Globe’s Daley reveals, what many didn’t know before this Netflix juggernaut is that apparently there is a limited series coming, centered on Baskin, with Kate McKinnon starring.

We’ve got popcorn ready.

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

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