Netflix stumbled upon the deep well that is Tiger King mania with the release of “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” docuseries that has taken over the internet and popular culture, and even a global pandemic couldn’t stop them from delivering more content to viewers. Hence we get “The Tiger King and I,” an extra eighth episode of the series that dropped today.
Branded as an after show, it’s hosted by Joel McHale, and includes interviews from G.W. Zoo owners Jeff and Lauren Lowe, Head Keeper Erik Cowie, former workers John Reinke and Saff Saffery, as well as John Finlay, the ex-husband of former G.W. Zoo owner Joe Exotic, who is the main focus of the documentary, Joshua Dial, Exotic’s former campaign manager, and Rick Kirkham, the former producer of Exotic’s webshow and an unreleased, destroyed “Tiger King” reality TV show, who drops the most bombs in this extra episode.
The production is understandably low-tech due to COVID-19 and is essentially made up of Zoom calls between McHale and members of the “Tiger King” cast, who are grappling with their newfound fame and the aftershocks of the series. For Jeff Lowe, he fends off allegations that fellow cast member James Garretson, who cooperated with the federal government and helped get Exotic arrested. Cowie, Reinke, and Saffery talk mostly about their newfound fame, with Saffery addressing how he was misgendered in the show. Finlay discusses how he wasn’t happy with his portrayal in the show.
But the best content comes from Kirkham, who includes new information about Exotic, such as a sickening story in which he kills a horse donated to him by an old woman, or when he killed a tiger not because it needed to be put down, but because he got mad at it, or when he reveals that the shocking fact that the Tiger King himself is afraid of big cats.
Noticeably absent are Exotic, who is currently in prison, and his rival, Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin, who said she would refuse to do any more “Tiger King” episodes if approached because of how the series portrayed the disappearance of her ex-husband, Don Lewis, from whom Baskin got most of her money from and who Baskin is suspected of killing.
One thing that is clear from this episode is that Netflix hit just the tip of the iceberg in regards to “Tiger King” content, and the story of Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin is far from over. I would not be surprised if we get a season two in a few years, covering all the Exotic court proceedings, and any updates from the Lewis cold case.
“The Tiger King and I” is a low-tech after show, nothing more. But it’s 40 more minutes of “Tiger King” content we didn’t have before, and for most fans, that’ll be enough.
“The Tiger King and I” gets a 6/10