The least vital documentaries for years

Jeff Lowe and Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, And Madness

Jeff Lowe ind Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, And Madness
Photo: Netflix

No one should waste their time with season two of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, And Madness. Netflix’s blank documentary series captivated viewers at its March 2020 debut – chalking it up to early quarantine boredom – but it got more eyes than it deserved. Still, its early popularity drove the production of another season, which focuses on how the series’ topics deal with sudden global fame. But Tiger King 2 has even less to offer than its predecessor.

For everyone who knows mostly fad central cast, it will not be surprising to learn that their egos and confidence have skyrocketed. The first episode of season two is dedicated to Joe Exotic’s lawyers ‘and supporters’ efforts to get him pardoned by President Trump. There are even footage of them on The Capitol Hill Uprising being hailed by Trump fans by all people. Tiger King 2 is an uneven, meaningless reminder of the start of the pandemic in the United States (when the show was watched) and one of the country’s most shameful events in recent years. It’s a ridiculous double polish.

The remaining episodes include the sound of Joe Exotic’s interviews from prison, but the focus turns away from him. Episodes two and three feel like they belong in a completely different documentary series about real crime, one about Carole Baskin’s husband’s disappearance, Don Lewis. Season 1 theorized that Baskin could be involved in Lewis’ death, a tale that resulted in hardcore Exotic fans almost apologizing for an alleged plan to kill her.

Season two does not address the negativity hurled at Baskin in this regard. She did not even sit down for new interviews for the show; Filmmakers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin use past clips and other publicly available footage and try to shift perspective by following the re-examination of her first husband’s possible whereabouts in Costa Rica. But everyone besides Lewis’ family dramatizes the situation for selfish reasons. There’s even a cameo from “psychic detective” Troy Griffin, who collapses in tears at the place he claims to sense the man was killed. Lewis’ daughter, Donna Pettis, ends up comforting him. It all smells of fornication.

Troy Griffin and Donna Pettis in Tiger King 2

Troy Griffin and Donna Pettis ind Tiger King 2
Photo: Netflix

The rest of Tiger King 2 is a takeover of Jeff Lowe, Exotics’ former partner who inherited his zoo in Oklahoma after his incarceration, and Lowe’s new teammate and co-zookeeper, Tim Stark. Both of these fleeting men are given a wealth of screen time to show their machismo and inability to care for animals. So there is nothing different than season 1.

Lowe and his partner, Lauren, boast of having a code that warns them when a “good-looking woman” guest or employee is present so they can try to get her into a threesome. Stark blames the media for the downfall of him and the zoo, so he often resorts to shouting at journalists – including throwing exclamations at female journalists – and even directly threatens Tiger King filmmakers.

It’s hard to sympathize with anyone on the show or worry about how they handle issues they’ve obviously inflicted on themselves. Tiger King 2 gives no answer or real criticism. It simply reflects the monstrous attitudes of its subjects and continues to glorify – inadvertently or not – people involved in animal cruelty. The second season tries to take a closer look at how Exotic, Lowe and Stark abused the four-legged creatures during their custody. But since all three men are already under investigation and public scrutiny for their crimes, it just feels superfluous. Tiger King‘s first season had no real value, but somehow the other manages to be even more deprived.


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