In the midst of worldwide lockdowns, Tiger King may be what keeps us sociable


As the world fights the spread of the Covid-19 virus, many countries have enforced lockdowns, in varying degrees.

The gist of most lockdowns is to keep inside your home, with a few, basic exceptions.

But the hope is that this mass enforced physical distancing will play a key role in curbing the spread of the virus.

Experts, however, have stressed that physical distancing does not mean "be unsociable", especially with so many tools at our disposal. 

But even reaching out to friends and loved ones over various technological platforms may not come easy to everybody.

I’m certainly guilty of that. Not even a “Hi, how are you?” just to break the ice and initiate a chat.

But I have found a saving grace. No need for “Hey, how’s it going?”

All I need is “Have you watched Tiger King?”

Yes, that. And now I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but the Netflix docu-series is a wonderful distraction in the middle of a worldwide crisis. 

Carol Baskin in Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Mad

(THE RIVAL: Activist and and the owner of Big Cat Rescue Carole Baskin. Photo: Netflix)

I didn't know much about the show to start with, but while looking at options on Netflix over the past weekend, I watched the trailer and that was that – I was sold on it.

Channel24's review explains more about the show: "Tiger King follows the life of eccentric roadside zoo owner Joe Shreibvogel, known as "Joe Exotic".

"The seven-part docu-series exposes the crazier-than-fiction world of this big cat owner, and the events that would eventually lead him to hiring a hitman to take out his rival, animal rights activist, Carole Baskin."

This line from Nikita Coetzee really succinctly sums it up: "There's polygamy, drug lords, cults, arson, murder, and even rumours that someone was fed to a tiger. Your favourite soapie could not even make this stuff up."

What more could you ask for? Drama. Action. Comedy. Crime. Suspense. All rolled up into one show – with a plot twist around every corner. But more than that, it makes you want to talk about it, repeatedly, to everybody.

Finding that one of your friends has watched it already, is a bonus – finding that one of them hasn’t turns you into a Netflix publicist. My WhatsApp list is filled with conversations about the show. 

Within our work WhatsApp group, memes are shared aplenty and those still catching up with the show are egged on to get up-to-date.

Yesterday, one of my best friends in Australia video called, and after a bit of a catch-up, I wondered out loud: “So, Tiger King?”

Joe Exotic in Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madne

(THE TIGER KING: Joe Exotic in a happier times with one of his big cats. Photo: Netflix)

Thirty minutes later we had to stop each other, because we could have gone on for much longer.

He promised to add me to a Facebook group dedicated to the show, which he was already a member of – and true to his word, the call ended, and there the link was. It is source of great joy.

There are also many memes going around, and truthfully, this has lifted my spirits tremendously.

Now, Health24 has extensively covered how we should be looking out for ourselves, and each other during this time, regarding aspects of mental health.

And I’d like to reaffirm that message. Look after yourselves, and each other. Make those calls, send those messages.

Use technology to its fullest, if, and where you can. And most importantly, ask them: “Have you watched Tiger King?”





*Bevan Lakay is editor of Health24 - follow here for more coronavirus health updates.

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