Text Review of Tiger King

Being locked in our homes during the Coronavirus pandemic, many people have turned to streamed content for some form of entertainment. The aptly timed release of the docuseries Tiger King has taken popular culture by storm. While there is a great variety of cultures and identities featured in the show, I will focus on the power relationship between Joe Exotic and his husbands and employees. Joe Exotic being a very peculiar man, surrounds himself with a very specific group of people. Throughout the season, we come to understand that most of his husbands and employees are down on their luck, outsiders. The town sheriff told us that if someone gets off the bus in town and noticeably had no place to go, Joe Exotic will offer them a place to stay and a job at his Zoo. By doing so, Joe gives hope to these lost souls and instantly becomes a provider figure for them. His employees show their appreciation by being incredible loyal to him. This is demonstrated clearly when one employee loses her arm due to a tiger attack and returns to work in less than a week. This dynamic can be related to the Master-Slave dialect. Joe holds a great deal of power over his employees due to their desperate situations and they are subject to his wishes and commands.


Another example of Joe holding power over people in a vulnerable position is his relationship with his husbands. The two that were featured most prevalently on the show both met the middle-aged Joe Exotic when they were only 19. They were not gay but rather entered a romantic relationship with Joe because he provided them meth which they were both addicted to. Again, Joe found people in desperate situations and ultimately benefited from their vulnerabilities. However, it is clear that Joe did not feel that he was committing any injustice. He was providing his employees a place to live, a job, and a group of people who identified with them. This was a great second chance for many people who likely felt that life had given up on them. He also gave his husbands a stable relationship, and provided for all their needs, including a reliable way to satisfy their addiction. Due to their dependence on him for meth, the husbands have become subalterns and unable to challenge Joe in the hierarchy that he built.


While Joe does not see anything wrong with actions, many viewers considered his behavior to be extortionist. By being the sole source of housing, income, and community, he holds a great power over these people. This forces them to accept unsafe working conditions, substandard housing conditions, and possibly unwanted sexual activities. I think that the creators of this series want the viewers to realize how people in desperate situations will endure terrible treatment in exchange for basic necessities and a sense of common identity. However, I think that this series was more focused on sensationalism than invoking questions of power and injustice.

When They See Us Review


The phrase “being at a bad place at a bad time” often becomes a reality for some people. Especially, when you are young and desiring to explore your youthfulness. When They See Us is a series that captures the injustices of the criminal justice system. The Exonerated 5 Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, black teenage boys, with other black teenage boys were accused of “gang” raping a female victim in Central Park (NYC). At the beginning of the case, Korey Wise was never a suspect. He had just happened to be with his friend Yusef Salaam to support him with the situation that recently transpired. The police took him in anyway without probable cause. It was unethical due to prosecutors taking in a teenage who was never a suspect. In Korey’s scene prosecutors manipulated him into confessing to a lie about events that occurred that night- saying if he said it, he could go home from being questioned. Due to the lack of evidence the prosecutors had, they began questioning the boys without their knowing of the right to stay quiet until their parent came and physical, mental, verbal assault. Conditions were unbearable considering these men are guilty and still in jail. Not only was he beat by the inmates, but the officers as well. Power was demonstrated forcefully by the DAs. I often wondered if those sorts of disagreements happened and were allowed in jails. The discriminatory acts of roughing the teenagers up and names like “animals” “gang bangers” were crucial to this case. It explored the various steps of injustices many black and brown people suffer daily. The treatment of the Caucasian DAs upon Korey Wise presented an obvious bias between the cop and himself. The cops viewed him as the “othering”. As if he was out of place for being there in the beginning, and his identity played a vital role. There was constant a master-slave dialect that the DAs desired to pursue. The officials knew they had the authority and aspired to abuse it. Using language and words officials knew the teenager was not familiar with to intimidate him and receive information to build a case. The author wanted the readers to be challenged and inspired in the world, I believe. A lot of times we get caught up in our own lives and forget that there are other real-world experiences occurring where black and brown people are being wrongfully convicted at high rates. It vividly sheds light on the work that still awaits to be accomplished in regard to the judicial system and their approaches to similar positions.

Escaping Polygamy- A World of Othering

Escaping Polygamy is a docuseries that follows 5 women who escaped from the Kingston polygamous organization, also known as The Order. These women have dedicated their lives to helping other individuals escape Polygamy. One of the most eye-catching aspects of this show is the portrayal of the polygamous organizations the women go up against. Between the two main cults explored in this show, I will talk about the FLDS polygamous cult.

FLDS stands for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It’s run by Warren Jeffs (currently serving life + 20 years for statutory rape of 2 ‘spiritual wives’, ages 15 and 12) who believes to be the Prophet and the key to reaching the Celestial Kingdom. One of the biggest takeaways from this show is just how isolated members from the FLDS are, and how they do everything they possibly can to keep it that way. Members who have left the organization are referred to as Apostates and aren’t allowed back to see their families. The FLDS refers to everyone outside of the religion as Gentiles. From the FLDS perspective, they are the One and everyone else is the Other. 

The FLDS not only Others the rest of the world, but they also Other their own members. The FLDS, as per the show, is notorious for separating families and sending away family members to ‘repent’ with no explanation. This is one of the many ways the Prophet maintains his power and control over the organization. One of the episodes in this show is about a woman named Lizzy. She was deemed ‘unworthy’ by the Prophet, so her daughter was physically taken away from her and sent to live with another family. At the time of this episode, Lizzy hadn’t seen her daughter in 3 years, had no clue where she was, and Lizzy herself was sent to a house of repentance (an isolated house in the middle of nowhere) to be left alone for months. This is Othering. The show tracked Lizzy down after it was contacted by one of Lizzy’s concerned friends who had escaped. 

Now, there is another perspective to discuss here. Just like how the FLDS Others the rest of the world and their own members, this show Others the FLDS. Docuseries are typically made to educate the general public on a specific topic. I, as someone who had no prior knowledge regarding the FLDS, was taught by the show that this organization is dangerous and infringes upon basic human rights. From the perspective of the show, everyone else is the One and the FLDS is the Other. While the FLDS literally isolated their members from the rest of society, this show figuratively isolated the organization from the rest of mainstream society. 

From the FLDS Othering the rest of the world and their own members, to the show Othering the FLDS, Othering is at the root of this docuseries. After watching this show, I was able to formulate an opinion regarding the FLDS and polygamous organizations in general. But I question how much of my opinion was formed as a result of the show’s Othering and portrayal of polygamy.