Do You Need to Watch ‘Tiger King’ Episode 8?
As promised by Jeff Lowe and Netflix (in that order), there is now officially an eighth episode of Tiger King available for streaming. Titled The Tiger King and I, it’s kind of like one of those The Men Tell All specials they air after a season of The Bachelor, only everyone is interviewed remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 40-minute bonus show is hosted by Joel McHale of The Soup and Community. He interviews eight Tiger King alums for about five minutes each. The subjects he speaks to are Erik Cowie, Jeff and Lauren Lowe, John Reinke, Saff, Joshua Dial, John Finlay, and Rick Kirkham. Joe Exotic himself is not involved. (He’s currently in prison, which makes reality TV appearances a little tricky.) Carole Baskin and her husband aren’t featured either. And Tiger King’s directors, Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, aren’t credited on The Tiger King and I.
Is it worth watching anyway? If you loved Tiger King and you’re curious what the folks listed above thought of the series and how they’re grappling with their sudden fame, sure. Even over Skype interviews, the cast’s charisma and personalities shine through. And there are some interesting tidbits sprinkled throughout. Rick Kirkham, the reality producer who tried to make a Joe Exotic TV show, reveals that the self-proclaimed “Tiger King” is, in fact, deathly afraid of lions and tigers. Kirkham also has the single funniest line in the episode; now living in Norway, Kirkham jokes “I can’t even take a walk down the fjord without someone walking their dog walking by pointing and going ‘That’s him!’”
Joel McHale is a funny guy, and he does his best to keep the interviews light. But there was some really dark stuff in Tiger King, and The Tiger King and I gets a little uncomfortable when McHale tries to pivot from cracking jokes about Joe Exotic’s mullet to asking Josh Dial about witnessing a man shooting himself in the head.
All in all, The Tiger King and I is a decent after show for a fascinating documentary series. It definitely has some holes; without Joe Exotic or Carole Baskin, it feels a lot less essential than it would have been with their participation. Still, if you loved the series and wished there was more, this will scratch that itch a little. If you want to watch it, you’ll find it with the rest of Tiger King on Netflix.
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