• Saira D.

2020 vs. "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness"

The year 2020 has been a turbulent one, filled with uncertainty, constant change, sadness and sorrow. But, the one saving grace we’ve had that isn't a vaccine for Covid-19, is Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Yes, that Netflix docuseries that took the world by storm back in March. The series that saved our souls and heads from going mad whilst trapped indoors at the beginning of lockdown. The series so bizarre and mad itself (as its title rightly details), that our own lives and current situation felt like the better end of the spectrum!

If there was one photo to best describe Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, it would be the image above, 100%. Whether you’ve already seen the Netflix docuseries, heard about it but never watched it, or if you somehow have no clue as to what exactly this series is, that meme literally says it all! Airing just after lockdown had started in the UK, Tiger King and all its insanity is what kept us in the UK and everyone I know in Canada during their lockdown, sane. Yes, insanity that led to sanity. And for those of you who are unfamiliar with the content of this docuseries – past the fact that its about mini zoo’s and tiger breeding in the southern US states of Oklahoma and Florida – the series documents the most absurd, bizarre, slightly or full-on disturbed people you could ever imagine (or couldn’t even imagine to be completely honest), and how they got into the world of tiger breeding, how they run their zoo’s, and all the crazy drama that exists between the three zoo’s, highlighted in the show.

When I first started the series I had already heard so much about it, like how “it’s so good you have to watch it” or, “I binged the entire season in 1-2 days”, or saw endless memes on various social media platforms. I knew it was about tigers, obviously, and a hillbilly-looking man with a horrible mullet, who’s face is plastered in most memes and on the cover photo of the series. Alas, I started the journey and man, did it ever take me on an adventure! The perfect analogy for what I thought Tiger King was, versus what it actually is, is like going on a children’s mini rollercoaster only to find out it’s actually a proper rollercoaster with crazy drops, numerous loops, and moves at incredibly fast speeds. I had no idea just how weird and in the realm of totally uncharted territory this show would actually be. And every time an episode went by I found myself saying, “okay but it can't possibly get any weirder” but, it does! Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, that you’ve been introduced to the strangest people that walk the face of the earth, when you’ve decided this or that person might be the only normal or sane person on set, you’re proven wrong. Every time. And a classic example would be me literally thinking three episodes into the series, that Carole Baskin was the only “normal” person amongst these American tiger breeders. But man, was I eventually proven wrong...

This docuseries literally sucker punches you every, single, episode, and in no time you find yourself at the end of the series asking yourself what the hell you just watched, how on earth this craziness existed right under our noses this whole time, and why is it over already?! And I’m not the only one, especially when it comes to the latter half of that sentence as an additional episode was later filmed and aired during lockdown via FaceTime, interviewing the now famous cast because everyone just had to know more, whatever “more” meant! The absurdity of it all proved to be such a distraction from what was then our current state of affairs, and during a period of total isolation it was able to bring so many people together online as everyone reacted in the same way: finding it incredibly entertaining and messed up all at the same time! It was refreshing to be so distracted and consumed by something other than a pandemic, so although it was so bizarre, so hilarious, or even so gross at times, it was and always will be a memorable experience and highlight of our time in lockdown, amid this Covid-19 pandemic. And you probably never thought you could say such a thing during such a time, but you can with Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness which, kind of is the perfect paradox.

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