If you’ve heard of the Tiger King on Netflix hype and wondering whether Tiger King is ok for kids, it’s not. I gave in since everyone was watching it and needed an escape, too. I get why people want to watch it, and then while watching, I thought why do people want to watch this? Is Tiger King kid friendly? Absolutely not. Tiger King is not appropriate for kids, and here’s what parents need to know.
Is Tiger King Kid Friendly?
The minute you meet Joe Exotic, the eccentric star of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, you can understand how this would be good trash TV. And it is, if you’re into that sort of thing. From his mullet, to his first f-bomb, to the first time he caresses a big cat, you may find yourself rooting for him.
Enter Carole Baskin, the other side of this story – the one who wants to put a stop to Joe’s exploitation of tigers. The PETA version of tiger protection if you will. Is she the good guy, though?
I’m not sure there is a good guy in this story, which makes the whole series a tad repulsive. Then there’s the question of whether she fed her 2nd husband to tigers. Yup, that accusation is thrown around and memes around the internet declaring its truth.
Tiger King is rated MA for violence, language, sexual content, drug use, and more. So essentially the rating is saying don’t let your kids watch Tiger King. Here’s a look at what’s in the first episode. It gets worse.
In the first episode alone there were 6 uses of the f-word, 5 sh–, 2 uses of b–ch, and one a–. There were also uses of the Lord’s name in vain like “oh my g-d” and Jesus f-ing Ch—. They also say g-ddamn in the next episode. Other phrases like pissing and “freeballing it” are also used. Basically any 4-letter word you can think of is used in this series.
There is gun violence, verbal threats, murder for hire, explosions, animal cruelty, graphic animal scenes of big cats eating other animals. One employee gets an arm torn off by a tiger; some parts are blurred. There are many discussions of harming other people or killing them.
In the first episode alone there is talk of sex gel, whether Joe wears underwear (no, he freeballs it), and talk of pure hatred for others. The more characters that are introduced in the series, the worse it gets as there’s all kinds of extramarital affairs, polygamy (gay and heterosexual), sexual exploitation, taking advantage of women, drug addiction, and smoking. There were references I needed to google, but I wasn’t about to google them.
Is Tiger King Appropriate for Kids Under 16?
I don’t recommend this Netflix binge for anyone under 18. Tiger King is not appropriate for kids or teens. Listen, I get it. It’s popular. Your teens are bored and have seen all the memes and chatter online. I can’t even escape it from my feed.
But I’d direct them to Cheer on Netflix instead. Although it has some heavy content, it’s also a story about teens overcoming adversity and challenges in life. Tiger King is just depressing. And do they really need that right now? Give me a Mat Talk from Jerry on Cheer any day.
In Tiger King, these adults are making horrible conscious decisions. Some people describe it as a train wreck that you can’t stop watching. But we can stop watching. Instead of turning it off, it’s turned into entertainment for all, like an exploitation of humans that have narcissistic tendencies. And the producers took advantage of them feeding off their need for attention.
The docuseries itself is told well with plenty of salacious characters and a murder mystery bonus. At one point I even felt like Joe Exotic was P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman, bringing together a family of misunderstood undesirables.
And then I came back to earth. Even with the jaw-dropping twists and turns, I didn’t really want more. But I’m also not into reality TV. There were little facts given for an actual documentary.
Some of the cast have changes of heart and even have some sort of redemption. And yes, there are lessons to be learned that no, kids, you can’t hire someone to kill your enemy and there will be consequence for your actions.
The problem is that, for some, while this is all fun and games and the outfits are hilarious, and what in the world is going on here – for kids and teens, especially vulnerable ones – they connect to someone on the show and begin to make those same decisions. Tiger King isn’t safe for kids, especially those who don’t have the maturity to decipher fact from fiction.
Some of the Tiger King quotes like, “This is my little town. I’m the mayor. The prosecutor. The cop and the executioner,” are just unbelievable. How is this real life? And while Joe Exotic sits in jail enjoying this new fame, I have to wonder how we keep glorifying these types of shows. As an animal lover, it was hard for me to stomach some of the scenes. Some of the animals are completely abused.
While Tiger King may be comfort food on TV for some, it brings me little comfort. I get why you like it, but I don’t get why you like it.