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HomeEntertainment'Joe vs Carole' review: Kate McKinnon stars in a Peacock miniseries that...

‘Joe vs Carole’ review: Kate McKinnon stars in a Peacock miniseries that arrives after ‘Tiger King’ has used up most of its lives


The main selling point here, frankly, might be Kate McKinnon as Carole Baskin, the object of hostility that prompted Joe (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s” John Cameron Mitchell, blessed with a role where it’s impossible to overact) to try hiring a hitman to kill her, leading to his eventual conviction.Yet even the versatile “Saturday Night Live” star, somewhat miscast, can only do so much with this material. Thanks to the too-expansive eight-episode format, the producers have time to indulge in bizarre flights of fantasy in addition to filling in details of both Joe and Carole’s backstories, those of supporting players and the events that made them all famous or notorious, take your pick.”He is a psychopath who wishes me dead,” Carole notes near the outset, before one of many flashbacks explaining how things reached that acrimonious stage.Basically, the whole “Tiger King” saga turns out to be almost impossible to parody, which might explain in part why a much-ballyhooed project that was to have starred Nicolas Cage ultimately fizzled. Cage said at the time that the conclusion was the story had lost its relevance, which seems even truer now than it was then.The bottom line is that you never really want to try telling a story like this after one of the principals has already hit the “Dancing With the Stars” stage of its life cycle.That’s not to say that some illuminating moments don’t emerge, such as Joe dealing with homophobia in his past, before announcing when he buys the land that became his big-cat park, “No one’s gonna make me feel small again.”As for Carole, the glimpses of her tumultuous first marriage humanize her a bit, while allowing the character to address her husband’s disappearance by saying, “I don’t miss him, but I didn’t kill him.” Meanwhile, she continues to provoke the easily riled Joe, despite advice from her husband Howard (Kyle MacLachlan) that engaging with him and his ilk amounts to “swatting at flies.”Adapted from a Wondery podcast, “Joe vs Carole” might actually provide its most memorable flourish in sequences that viewers won’t see, since the unfinished episodes made available for review feature dogs as stand-ins for the big cats, with a note that the lions and tigers will be added using computer-generated imagery.The dogs turn out to be very good boys and girls, patiently creating safe substitutes for the actors to play against. As for “Joe vs Carole” and the rest of those cool cats and kittens, while a limited series might have sounded like a swell idea back when the docuseries leapt into the zeitgeist, in March 2022, the timing is less than purr-fect.”Joe vs Carole” premieres March 3 on Peacock.

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