“Tiger King 2:” The return of Joe “not so” Exotic?


Photo courtesy of Netflix

Poster for the second season of the Netflix original “Tiger King.” The second season picks up where the first season left off by tying up the legal loose ends.

Tegan Ruhl, Staff Writer

Everybody remembers “Tiger King” right? The Netflix series about gunslinging rednecks who owned hundreds of big cats and the events were actually real? Well, it’s back, but it’s not better than ever. 

“Tiger King 2” follows the events that took place after “Tiger King” became a quarantine sensation on Netflix. 

With lead man Joe Exotic, former owner of G.W. Zoo, not actively present in the documentary, “Tiger King 2” follows the other major big cat owners previously mentioned in the first season of the show. Specifically, the show follows Jeff Lowe and his declining ownership over G.W. Zoo, the investigation following the disappearance of Carole Baskin’s ex-husband Don Lewis and the court cases involving Tim Stark and his zoo Wildlife in Need. 

If you are expecting “Tiger King 2” to be anything like the first season, be prepared for disappointment.

If any of you were like me and watched “Tiger King” during quarantine, you’ll remember the  utter insanity of the show. Think of Duck Dynasty vibes or a very trashy TLC show and multiple it by ten. That’s what the “Tiger King” experience was like in 2020. 

While I had some good expectations for “Tiger King 2,” part of me knew the second season would not live up to the hype from the first season. 

First of all, Joe Exotic does not have an active role in the documentary because he is in prison. While the documentary includes recorded phone calls he made in prison, Exotic is hardly seen throughout the entire second season. If you’re preparing to see the Tiger King himself, I suggest you change your expectations.

Secondly, season two deals a lot more with the legal consequences of the season one events rather than stories and experiences from other big cat owners. The first episode focuses on Joe Exotic trying to get a pardon from former president Donald Trump. The second and third episodes focus on the family of Don Lewis and their effort to try and find out why he disappeared. The fourth and fifth episodes of the season focus on Tim Stark’s court cases and the repossession of Jeff Lowe’s cats at G.W. Zoo. 

While the first season was filled with chaos and mayhem, the second season is more “real.” If you’re not interested in hearing about lawyers or court cases, then you might want to skip out on “Tiger King 2.” 

However, I still find myself appreciating the realness and grittiness of “Tiger King 2.” While the first season told the crazy true story of plotted murders, financial schemes and animal abuse, the second season deals with the consequences of all of this.

I can appreciate this because the second season proves that even celebrities doing crazy, stupid things still have to face the consequences despite their recent success. It almost makes me laugh thinking about how they weren’t caught for their illegal actions sooner. 

Overall, “Tiger King 2” was not the crazy adventure I expected it to be. Even though it’s still a binge-worthy show, I would not find myself watching this season again. I give this season a 3 out of 5. 

“Tiger King 2” may not have been filled with Joe Exotic’s crazy antics and Carole Baskin memes, but part of me still appreciates the honesty presented in the documentary. While the series as a whole may not be for everyone, it will always be a memorable staple of the 2020 quarantine.