While we're all in lockdown, a lot of people have been asking their followers and friends for viewing recommendations and as such, my social media feeds have been taken over by Netflix's latest true-crime series, Tiger King.
According to one of the more informative memes online, the show "has everything" - "Tigers, lions, murder… alligator arson… a zoo-based sex cult, a crazy cat lady and country songs about tigers and gay love."
Now you see how it got my attention; if there's anything that's guaranteed to draw me in despite my general aversion to the true crime genre, it's a gay love story and the fact that it sounds absolutely bonkers.
There's a recurring line in the series in which its main subject, Joe Exotic, says: "Let me show and tell the whole thing because then you'll get it. Then you'll say 'Jesus f***ing Christ, why is he in jail?'"
Because that's where Joe Schreibvogel (widely known as Joe Exotic) is currently. A former zookeeper and collector of exotic animals (hence the name), Exotic is also a country music singer, reality TV starlet and magician, who threw his hat in the ring to run for president the same year Trump did.
He's now serving 22 years in prison for murder-for-hire.
Told you it was bonkers. But, paradoxically, it's for that reason that Tiger King did absolutely nothing to change my opinion of the grossly exploitative nature of true-crime.
In classic Netflix fashion, it's just here to become the internet's next big obsession, which is very much the business of Netflix, but the problem is there's actually some really serious stuff going down in this story which gets pushed to the side for what feels like the circus "freak show".
Tiger King is so obsessed with showing the world just how strange this whole situation is that it leaves out a lot of detail that I for one, wanted to see.
There's no Making a Murderer-level analysing of events, it's just, "here look how crazy these people are" and little else.
What's especially troubling is that these events happened pretty recently - Exotic was only sentenced this January and his arch-nemesis Carole Baskin is still working at her big cat sanctuary where, because of this series, she'll have the whole world on her back thinking she murdered her own husband (a rumour heartily perpetuated by exotic and his followers).
That rivalry is the heart of this series and it's frankly disturbing.
At its core, Tiger King is about power. Exotic and his peers got drunk off the power they got from controlling tigers and lions and aimed that perceived power squarely at Baskin, whom Exotic threatened to kill on multiple occasions, spread lies about, and stole from. At one point in the series, he's seen depicting the performance of sexual acts on a doll made to represent Baskin, before shooting said doll in the head. Baskin is repeatedly referred to as "that bitch" - or worse.
It's actually surprisingly easy to compare Exotic's feud with Baskin to Trump's feud with Hilary Clinton. It's all about gendered intimidation and the fact that Exotic and his pals are threatened by a woman who is better than her job than they are.
They spend hours attacking Baskin for being good at social media marketing and rallying volunteers and supporters and if that's not petty jealousy, I don't know what is.
But it gets much, much worse. There's some wild mistreatment of animals - Exotic was also convicted on 17 federal charges of animal abuse, kids who had their drug habits exploited by a much older man so they would marry him (despite none of them being gay), a missing person cold case and an apparent suicide and yet, we barely scratch the surface of those events.
It's not even until the very last episode that we focus on the animals and any conservation efforts, when Exotic finally realises what he's done and admits "I was just wrapped up in having a zoo".
Really, that says it all. Joe Exotic is a man who got so obsessed with being the "Tiger King", he was apparently willing to do whatever he could to hold on to his crown.
And Tiger King itself feels very much like it's fallen into a similar trap. Exotic was obsessed with fame and Netflix gave it to him, in the exact same totally bonkers fashion he would've wanted.
Due credit: Tiger King is extraordinary, entertaining, and every inch the "wild ride" that's promised. But watching it, I just can't help but feel like one of those punters paying hundreds to see a tiger when I know I'm just contributing to the problem.