Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, to give the series its full, ostentatious, title, came along at exactly the right time. The Covid-19 pandemic was just kicking into high gear, the world was starting to shut down, and we, largely stuck in our homes or about to be, were ready for a deeply trashy docu-series about a gay, drug-addled exotic animal aficionado and his plot to murder his rival Carole Baskin.
The tawdry, torrid and tiger-striped tale of Joe Exotic was just the thing for the freshly quarantined: engaging but undemanding, colourful, gratuitous and disposable.
But now the world is changing, nature is healing, and it seems that season two, a fresh salvo of five episodes that is essentially a “where are they now?” afterword, is not finding the warm reception that its predecessor did. Perhaps we all feel a bit too guilty about this guilty pleasure, now that there are actually other things to do.
The reviews have been as savage as a starved mountain lion in the bed of pick-up truck, but really season two is not markedly worse than what has gone before; it’s still car crash television highlighting a gaggle of Americans grossly lacking in self-awareness and their various rivalries, set against a backdrop of guns, drugs and the shockingly bizarre and criminally negligent world of private zoo ownership.