Quick question: Who is Joe Vs. Carole, Peacock’s new dramatized take on the tiger-based rivalry between big cat people Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic, actually for?
Because if there’s a single signifier for how swiftly, distressingly weird things got when we were all first getting used to the dull gray realities of Pandemic Life, it’s got to be the rapid ascent (and subsequent downfall) of Netflix’s Tiger King.
Rebecca Chaiklin and Eric Goode’s docuseries about potentially murderous in-fighting between the owners of large felines arrived in March of 2020, i.e., the exact right moment for something bright and loud and trashy to act as a security blanket for our panicking brains. “I might spend 20 minutes a day washing my hands right now, and I’ve been fist-fighting my neighbors for toilet paper,” we’d mutter to ourselves. “But at least I’m not one of the people from Tiger King.”
Fast-forward two years, though, and the trailer for Joe Vs. Carole—which dramatizes the Exotic/Baskin conflict with John Cameron Mitchell and Kate McKinnon in the title roles—feels bizarre at best, and two years past its sell-by date at worst. (See also the second season of Tiger King itself, which we just had to go double-check ever actually come out.)
Mitchell, at least, is doing a fairly interesting spin on Exotic’s hyper-masculinized vibe of barely contained anger; McKinnon looks and sounds like she pulled a bag labeled “Dead Husband Tiger Woman” off the discount rack at Spirit Halloween. (Which isn’t to say she won’t be funny; Kate McKinnon is often tremendously funny. But the resemblance to Baskin, in appearance, voice, and manner, is decidedly yet to be proven.)
Joe Vs. Carole is being showrun by Etan Frankel, best known for Animal Kingdom and Shameless. The eight-episode series co-stars Kyle MacLachlan, Brian Van Holt, Sam Keeley, Nat Wolf, Marlo Kelly, William Fichtner, Dean Winters, and David Wenham.
The series is set to debut on Peacock on March 3, 2022.