Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

These Brutally Honest Reviews Prove Not Everyone Loves Joe Vs. Carole

Peacock's "Joe vs Carole" takes the real-life drama between conservationist and animal rights activist Carole Baskin (Kate McKinnon) and former animal park owner Joe Exotic (John Cameron Mitchell) and fictionalizes it into a flashy, splashy drama. The story of Exotic and Baskin's legal battle — which resulted in accusations of a murder-for-hire plot, among other jaw dropping legal bombshells (per Time Magazine) — was originally explored in the Netflix documentary "Tiger King." As you probably know, "Tiger King" became a massive hit in 2020 during the early portion of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a follow-up documentary, 2021's "Tiger King 2." The possibility of a third documentary remains up in the air as of press time. After all, as long as Baskin and Exotic remain alive and locked in their bitter feud, the possibility for more drama is still there. 

"Joe vs Carole" has done fairly well with viewers. It holds an 86% audience approval score on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 5.8 on IMDb. On the other hand, it's worth noting that the show's critical response has been something less than positive. The reviews definitely do prove that it's a jungle out there.

The critics aren't wild about this tiger's tale

Many critics think that "Joe vs Carole" doesn't improve upon the blood and circus of the twosome's real-life conflict. Vanity Fair slammed the series, saying that it "feels like a brutally over-extended Saturday Night Live sketch, leaning heavily on the jokes we know and expect while clumsily trying to tease out some deeper meaning." Adding that "Joe vs Carole" is "superfluous," Richard Lawson was particularly critical of McKinnon's Baskins, calling the actress' take on the wildlife advocate "another of her bug-eyed, idiosyncratic characters."

At The Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roper praises the cast's performances but declares, "'Joe v Carole' is a victim of its own timing. Even in the hands of this skilled group of actors and behind-the-scenes personnel, it just feels ... unnecessary." Entertainment Weekly's Kristen Baldwin concurs, "At times, Joe vs. Carole plays like pure spoof, with its on-the-nose needle drops (ABBA's "Tiger"; Tom Jones' "What's New, Pussycat?") and intentionally silly dialogue." Baldwin goes on to say that the show's dramatization of Exotic's alleged killing of five of his tigers to make room for more big cats "grossly uncomfortable — absolution by creative license." RogerEbert.com's Nick Allen opines, "why would you patronize something that now feels like a knock-off, when you can enjoy more from the real thing?"

Fans can judge for themselves. "Joe vs Carole" is currently streaming in its entirety on Peacock.