How has ‘Tiger King’ affected Carole Baskin and her family?
Whether you love her or hate her, Carole Baskin is on the current season of Dancing with the Stars. And, as we all guessed, she has so far, not deviated from the feline theme. Both the costumes from this week & last week have featured wild cat prints, and the set for this week’s dance put a massive painting (seriously, this thing looks 20 feet tall) of a house cat in Elizabethan clothing front and center.
One thing Dancing with the Stars does with its contestants to make them more endearing to the audience & to help them more deeply connect with their dance partner, is to have them open up about struggles they’ve faced (or are facing) while on camera. This often leads to tears on the contestant’s part and occasionally tears on the audience’s part, as well.
In the second week of the show we’ve already seen this year’s contestants open up about their personal lives, and Carole Baskin, notorious for her part in Tiger King, has spoken about the way the documentary series has affected her life.
Baskin sat down on a couch in the dance studio across from her partner Pasha Pashkov to answer the question on everyone’s mind: What has life been like for her after Tiger King? The answer was a bit cursory and lacked detail, but it was enough for everyone watching to know the answer is “not great”.
Carole Baskin admitted that she does her best to be strong & waits to be alone before breaking down. She cries as she says this, because let’s face it, even if you prefer crying alone, when you talk about crying alone you’re going to – at minimum – get a little teary-eyed.
Baskin also admits that Tiger King has been hard on her family too. She says one of her daughters can’t read the news anymore. The implication of this statement seemed to be that her daughter’s inability to look at the news was related to the bad coverage Baskin and those around her have been receiving, but she doesn’t actually say this. The likely accidental admission made us think “yeah, we’re having a hard time with that too lately”, since 2020 is a dumpster fire of a year.
Then Baskin attempts to make the moment a little more lighthearted by saying she hopes being on the show will help the world know who she really is. “So I hope that Dancing with the Stars helps make that good for my daughter that she can at least be able to tell her friends ‘this is who my mom . . . is . . . kind of. She doesn’t really dance, but can learn to dance.’”
Baskin also later admits to Tyra Banks that she called her family ahead of the episode to warn them that she cries, since it’s wildly out of character.
Baskin as a competitor
There wasn’t anyone who expected Carole Baskin to be a natural at ballroom dancing, and her first dance of the season didn’t prove anyone wrong, though she did seem to be having some fun – which occasionally can garner you an extra point from the judges. (They hate the concentration face.)
However, we begrudgingly admit that Baskin did improve quite a bit in her second-week performance, as she glided around the dance floor in a Viennese Waltz. This isn’t to say we expect her to put any pressure on the top three, but the judges did reward her with higher scores.
Despite an improvement this week Baskin found herself in the bottom two and had to stand on the ballroom floor waiting to find out whether the judges would save her. With a 2 – 1 vote, the answer was “yes” because of her improvement. If you were hoping she’d be voted off quickly, then you might be out of luck.
What we need to see from Baskin
It’s obvious Baskin’s presence on the show is meant to be a joke. As we feared, her cat love was not just the center of attention in week one, so far it’s been in everything she does.
From cat prints on her dresses to the song choices – first “Eye of the Tiger” and then “What’s New Pussycat?” – the producers seem unwilling to allow Baskin to do anything that could make people forget about Tiger King for even a brief moment.
What we need to see as viewers, in order to take her seriously, is a dance where they give her a song & costume where neither are cat-themed. Her costumes so far have been gaudy & hard to look at – this week’s looked like leopard patterned liquid gold. We’d love to see her in something more demure so that she can (potentially) shine past the ever-looming controversies from Tiger King.