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Netflix cult series : The "Tiger King" loves to cuddle with big cats

Blonde mullet hairstyle, mustache, a dozen piercings and a Colt in Cowboy Maier casually strapped around the waist. This is what the new Netflix star Joe Exotic looks like, who has developed into a bizarre media phenomenon since the start of the seven-part true crime documentary series "Tiger King" (German title: "Big cats and their predators"). Originally, filmmakers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin wanted to make a documentary about the growing big cat keeper scene in the United States. There alone 5000 to 10,000 tigers live in captivity, more than worldwide in the wild.

Good money can be made with the predators, for years Joe Exotic has traveled through the country with his tiger cubs from his own breeding. In the shopping malls, customers pay for a selfie with a cute baby of the big cats. In Oklahoma, where the trade in predators and machine guns is equally legal, Joe Exotic runs a zoo with over 300 tigers, lions, panthers and lynxes. There are enough customers who can be photographed with an animal from the top of the food chain. Joe Exotic also likes to cuddle up next to lions and tigers in the picture and market himself with a channel on YouTube.

Everything could go well for the eccentric, gay tiger breeder, if it weren't for the animal rights activist Carole Baskin, who runs an animal shelter for rescued big cats in Florida. She goes into the field against breeders and big cat torturers. The house is full of cat sculptures; Sofa covers, wallpaper, almost every piece in the walk-in closet has a tiger or leopard print. Carole has a mission, in it Joe found his nemesis.

Safari gurus and drug traffickers

With Carole, the series immerses its narrative, increasingly from a bizarre description of the milieu into a bizarre crime plot. You can tell Goode and Chaiklin the surprise over and over again, given the incredible details and events that play out in front of their camera. The feud between the tiger breeder and the animal rights activist, which escalated to contract killing, could not have been thought up by any serial writer.

The same applies to the arsenal of the strange minor characters. They range from a safari guru who not only keeps hundreds of predators in his zoo, but also a harem of former interns, to the convicted drug lord Mario Tabraue, who, by his own admission, is the model for Al Pacinos Scarface, to Carole's ex-husband That his wife, at least her competitors claim, is said to have fed the Tiger.

The fact that many of the reporters scratch the neck of adult big cats during the interview is no longer noticeable in view of their incredible stories. The self-portrayals stand next to each other without comment, the audience has to search for the truth themselves, even if Joe Exotic is now in prison for attempted murder and other crimes.

On the couch with Predator Joe

In times of forced social distance, the concept of the reality series seems to prove itself as escapist addictive food. Instead of doing abdominal muscle training or checking out the closet with Marie Kondo, the audience succumb to the idiosyncratic predator-owner drama, which takes them into a grotesque parallel universe. In the USA, "Tiger King" is the most streamed series according to the industry magazine "Variety" and it is number one of the most popular series on the German Netflix portal.

In the meantime, questions of guilt and alternative courses of action are being discussed wildly on social media channels. The hashtag #tigerking has been set up on Twitter, where the call for spin-offs for the illustrious supporting characters is getting louder and louder. Memes flood Instagram accounts. Even Sylvester Stallone has already posted a picture of himself and his family in appropriate costumes.
In the midst of this hype, the news broke in that suddenly brought everything back to reality: The "New York Post" reports that Joe Exotic was transferred to the isolation ward of the prison hospital as a suspected corona case. The virus also hijacked this escape narrative.
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