Great Britain

Like pouring tequila on your brain: why Tiger King is the most-watched show on Netflix

Name: Tiger King.

Age: Three weeks old.

Appearance: The perfect accompaniment to your self-isolated descent.

I’ve heard a lot about this. It’s the Netflix show about the man who looks after tigers, right? Not reeeeally, no.

Oh, that’s a shame. I mean, it is about some people who own private big cat sanctuaries, but as a viewing experience it’s also a bit like unscrewing the top of your skull and pouring tequila directly on to your brain.

That good? Yes! You really haven’t watched it? Everyone’s quarantined. What else have you been doing?

Obsessively auditing my remaining dry goods. Well, stop that. This is more important. Do you want me to tell you what Tiger King is about?

I don’t think I have a choice. That’s right. It is about the rivalry between different big cat owners, all of whom look like a cross between a retired WWE wrestler and Wagner from X Factor. Remember Wagner?

No. It doesn’t matter. The lead character is a man called Joe Exotic who, well …

Well, what? Where to start? He used to shoot horses and feed them to his lions whole. And he is a magician. And he was once married to two men at the same time. And he ran for president in 2016. And he is a country singer.

That last one doesn’t sound particularly outrageous. What if I told you he didn’t write or perform any of the songs on any of his albums?

Oh. Or that one of his songs was called Here Kitty Kitty, which directly claimed that his rival – Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin – fed her missing husband to his tigers? Which, obviously, she denies.

Right. Or that he is now serving a 22-year jail sentence for trying to hire someone to murder Baskin?

And this is a fun show? Absolutely. Everyone loves it! Vanity Fair called it “riveting”. Slate called it “genuinely compulsive viewing”. CNN, regrettably, called it “Grrrr-reat”. It was also, upon launch, the most-watched thing on Netflix.

But isn’t it a bit icky and exploitative? Oh, absolutely. Tiger King is a show about genuinely terrible people. It is exploitative, both to its subjects and the animals. It revels in humanity’s basest instincts. It does that grubby Netflix thing of making the viewers complicit in all the terrible acts by giving notoriety to those who don’t deserve it.

It sounds awful. It is awful.

So should I give it a miss? No! It is the perfect show for these weird, uncertain times and you should definitely watch it.

Do say: “Tiger King is cruel and exploitative.”

Don’t say: “But it’s this or reconnecting with our loved ones, so we may as well watch it.”

Football news:

Ex-city defender Onuoha: I never felt safe in the US. If the police don't like it, you can lose your life
Barcelona wants to bring back 19-year-old Manchester City defender Garcia. The English are not going to let him go
Gianni Infantino: We must all say no to racism and violence. In any form
Barcelona for 4.5 million euros will buy 70% of the rights to 19-year-old forward Sao Paulo Maya
Martin Ødegaard: Sociedad wants to get into the Champions League is a dream. It's hard to fight Real Madrid and Barca, but we can fight the rest
Newcastle midfielder Longstaff is close to a move to Udinese. His salary will increase by more than 30 times
Milan defender Duarte was injured. This is the second injury at the club after resuming training