Tiger King is unquestionably one of the biggest hits of 2020, benefitting from both the true crime moment in pop culture, and its arrival on Netflix just as the first wave of COVID sent everyone home last spring. It succeeds in being a “wait WHAT” true crime documentary with more colorful characters, twists, and turns than you can shake a stick at, but Tiger King also turned into a legit phenomenon, so of course there’s a sequel. Tiger King 2 is coming to Netflix in November, a follow-up series meant to, I guess, show us how Tiger King changed things for this bunch of scumbags. Oh goodie?
While Joe Exotic is still in jail, Carole Baskin went on to compete on Dancing With the Stars, and in the trailer, Jeff Lowe says he has “more money than God” following the success of Tiger King. He also says “come and get me” in reference to the government threatening to take away his animals, and, well, they did. The Lowes ended up surrendering over 60 cats to avoid paying fines for keeping their animals in “disturbing” conditions and violating the Endangered Species Act. The trailer also teases further investigation into the death of Don Lewis, Carole Baskin’s previous husband. You know, the one everyone thinks she fed to a tiger. That could probably be its own documentary, frankly.
I wonder if Tiger King 2 will make any effort to unpick the threads Tiger King willfully ignored, like the racism and the rampant animal abuse and the classism and the exploitative poverty porn and the misogyny aimed at Carole Baskin. Or will it just be more “look at these yahoos” moments? I’m getting a definite vibe of the latter, which does not excite me. Tiger King sacrifices insight for shock value, and the only real purpose in revisiting it is to dig into the darker, less “fun” elements ignored the first time around. I HOPE that’s what is going on here, but hero shots of yahoos on jet skis aren’t confidence builders.