At its core, ‘Joe vs. Carole’ is a black-comedy crime-drama series about a long-lasting feud between Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage (née Schreibvogel) or Joe Exotic (John Cameron Mitchell) and Carole Baskin (Kate McKinnon). It is based on the second season of the true-crime podcast ‘Over My Dead Body.’ Both Joe and Carole of the show are modeled after real people.
Now incarcerated, Joe used to own the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park (or the G.W. Zoo) in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. Meanwhile, Carole serves as the CEO of Big Cat Rescue, a non-profit animal sanctuary that she founded with her second husband, Don Lewis, in Tampa, Florida. The narrative requires tigers and other large animals to be shown in the series. If you are wondering whether these animals are real or CGI, this is what you need to know. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Are Animals in Joe vs. Carole Real or CGI?
The animals in ‘Joe vs. Carole’ are CGI. When the real Carole Baskin learned that the show was in development, she released a statement through various news outlets, requesting McKinnon and her team not to use real animals. “Big Cat Rescue implores Kate McKinnon to not use real big cats and cubs in the making of her series,” she wrote. “The Wondery podcast, which is the basis for her series, explores the rampant breeding, abuse and exploitation of big cats by breeder and exhibitor Joe Exotic. It would be cruel to use real big cats in a television series about cruelty to big cats.”
Carole proceeded to suggest that the producers should use CGI to digitally create the animals. “We urge McKinnon to utilize computer-generated imagery (CGI) of cats in the show rather than forcing real big cats to suffer just to entertain the audience,” her statement explained. “We hope McKinnon has a passion for animals and that her series will focus on the horrible lives captive big cats lead when exploited by breeders like Joe Exotic. We further hope she urges the public to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act that would end the cub petting abuse in America.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA also implored both McKinnon and Universal Content Productions not to use real animals during the production. After the show began streaming, the organization happily reported that their request was heard. They even bestowed upon the series the Tech, Not Terror Award for “using cutting-edge, cruelty-free computer-generated imagery to depict stunningly realistic tigers in a show about big-cat exploitation.”
Read More: Are Carole and Howard Baskin Still Together?