As my family has settled into our new, stay-at-home normal, our relationship with television has transformed from a relationship between humans and an appliance, to a relationship between humans and a beloved family member.
I thought I knew what love for TV meant before social distancing. But since our quarantine time began, my adoration for televised programming has hit depths I did not know the heart could reach.
TV is the most reliable presence in my life right now. It can be whatever I need it to be. Sometimes I need a friend. Sometimes I need a therapist. Sometimes (often) I need a babysitter. And every second of every day I need a distraction from the terrifying reality of what it means to be a living person in 2020.
Not just any show falls into that last category. It takes a really special story and a really special cast of characters to completely make me forget about everything else, including global pandemics
So we’re blessed, really, that in the middle of the poop sandwich this year has served us so far, it’s also given us the Netflix docu-series Tiger King, a show so bonkers as to offer a temporary yet complete escape into insanity for anyone who views it.
Tiger King tells the story of Joe Exotic, the owner of a private Oklahoma zoo and his band of murderous misfits. Each episode details the war between Joe and his rival animal rights activist Carole Baskin, and features a number of other colorful zoo owners, including one who claims Scarface was based on his life.
I’ve never said “wait, what?!” so often and with such vigor as I did watching Tiger King. Each time the exclamation was born not of confusion, but of disbelief, because I found myself incapable of believing any of the people on the series had any good reason for doing any of the things they did.
And I gotta tell you, it put my life in perspective in these troubled times. I’ve been feeling a little sorry for myself during the last twelve days of isolation. But thanks to Tiger King, I now realize it could be worse.
I mean, sure, things aren’t ideal for all of us staying at home, longing for interaction with the outside world. But at least I’m not dealing with a meth addiction like Joe Exotic’s first husband:
Sure, things aren’t great, but at least I haven’t been tricked into polygamy by a man with a mullet who is twice my age AND his first husband, like Joe’s second husband was:
Sure, things aren’t great, but at least my employer is not a cult leader with multiple wives who demands to be called “Lord,” like Doc Antle:
Sure, things aren’t great, but at least I haven’t lost a limb to a zip-line accident/tiger bite, like most of Joe’s employees:
Sure, things aren’t great, but at least a man with a park full of lions and tigers and assault rifles isn’t sending me death threats via Facebook videos, like Joe sent Carole Baskin:
Sure, things aren’t great, but at least my mailbox isn’t exploding with snakes, like Carole Baskin’s was one day:
Sure, things aren’t great, but at least I haven’t been accused of feeding my husband to a tiger, like Carole Baskin has been:
Sure, things aren’t great, but at least I didn’t actually feed my husband to a tiger, like Carole Baskin maybe did:
Sure, things aren’t great, but at least I haven’t agreed to head the gubernatorial campaign, and then presidential campaign, of a man I met in the Walmart gun department, like this guy did:
Sure, things aren’t great, but at least I'm not in this marriage:
Sure, things aren’t great, but at least I'm not a strip club owner living in fear that the feds will find my pet lemur, like this guy is:
Sure, things aren't great but, at least I didn’t make this:
Like Joe did.
So yeah. Things in isolation aren’t totally ideal. But it could be worse. I could be any of the people featured on Tiger King. And I’m thankful for that perspective as my family and I stay home and try to keep ourselves and others safe.