Tiger King is back, but will your favorite characters be returning?

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Chiara Amodeo , Contributing Writer

Tiger King, a wildly popular true crime documentary directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, has been renewed for a second season which will air on Nov. 17.  The first season, which came out in March of 2020, was an immediate hit.  According to Variety, Tiger King’s first season was watched by over 34 million people within the first ten days of release. The docuseries became an online sensation when the first season aired, so it’s probable that the second season will garner just as much attention. 

“I’m very excited for season two.  I’ve been waiting for it since I finished season one. Tiger King is even better than Stranger Things,” said freshman Leah Dong.

 The first season captures the crimes of convicted criminal Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic or “the Tiger King,” and the feud that escalated to criminal activity between him and animal sanctuary CEO Carole Baskin. Joe Exotic is the former owner of the now-closed Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park (also known as the G.W. Zoo), a tiger breeder, and a tiger handler for magic shows and commercial cub petting.  

Throughout Exotic’s career as a handler and zookeeper, numerous accusations of animal abuse and mistreatment were brought up against him.  As the G.W.  Zoo’s operator, Exotic made the illegal decision to feed the big cats at the zoo expired meat from Walmart to cut costs.  This was one of his multiple citations from the United States Department of Agriculture that ultimately led to his arrest, along with the results of an investigation by the FBI.

His dispute with Carole Baskin began when Baskin’s organization, Big Cat Rescue, protested against the commercial tiger cub pettings that Exotic held, causing many of the events to be canceled.  This was a large revenue loss for Exotic, who responded by targeting Baskin and her organization.  Eventually, Baskin pursued legal action.  Exotic was found guilty of hiring a hitman to kill Baskin, leading to another charge on his prison sentence.  

The feud with Carole Baskin made up the majority of Tiger King’s popularity on social media, notably on the app TikTok.  One infamous parody of the song “Savage,” by Megan Thee Stallion, went viral on the app, with lyrics about Baskin supposedly killing her husband.  Despite the fact that Baskin was never a suspect in her former husband’s disappearance, some Tiger King fans think that this suspicion of Baskin became so widespread among viewers that it’ll be elaborated on in the second season.  

“I honestly think season two will just be about Carole Baskin allegedly killing her husband, because that’s all people cared about,” said freshman Myla Tannenbaum.  

Not much has been said about what we will see in season two, so nothing can be ruled out just yet.  However, Baskin posted a review on her blog saying she was unhappy with the direction of the documentary. 

“Netflix said they wanted to … expose the misery caused by the rampant breeding of big cat cubs for cub petting exploitation and the awful life the cats lead in roadside zoos and backyards if they survive.  There are not words for how disappointing it is to see that the docuseries not only does not do any of that but has had the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible,” said Baskin on her website.   

From her disappointment and highly negative reaction, some fans are assuming that season two will not be able to go into more detail about the disappearance and legal death of Baskin’s former husband.  Another speculated route for Tiger King 2, based on a brief clip of Joe Exotic in the trailer, could be that it follows Exotic’s life since his incarceration and what he plans to do in the future. 

Whichever way the directors take the series with Tiger King 2, it’s sure to attract fans of the first season and new viewers who haven’t yet watched the first season. 

“I think Tiger King sounds very interesting. I might watch it when season two comes out,” said junior Bethel Ekezie.