Papa Lion (Carl)

First off, that tree we were lying around in the shade by, that wasn’t even our tree. The producers literally brought in that tree and told us it was going to be our new tree. They said our tree—the tree we’ve lay under for years—“didn’t have a river view” and was “a little smaller than what we were looking for.” This was all said to me in front of my kids, I might add. Real class act that Discovery Channel!

Just like any family we like to have our place look clean, so we moved all the twigs and tried to flatten out some nice spots. We worked hard for over three hours, but did any of that stuff make the final cut? No way, José. They just showed me lying by the trunk of the tree resting my back and cleaning myself. We were cleaning and my damn sciatica starting acting up. I can’t be on my feet as much as I used to. Betty knows that. The kids know that. But I come off as some lazy bum who just lies there and yawns all the time. You know, they were telling me to yawn! Do you really think lions yawn that much? Think again, Bub.

Goddamn Hollywood. I didn’t even want to do this from the get go. I knew it would end up like this. Filmmakers and their agendas. I’d rather leave the kids with a poacher than a documentary filmmaker.

Mama Lion (Betty)

Carl is really all bent up about this. He was on us for weeks prior, showing us how to behave and whatnot. I must say, the kids were really good about it—I think they were excited, you know, being on TV and all. Halfway through the shooting Carl knew something was up. The director kept having the kids “play fight,” and that got the kids going and pretty soon Carl was yelling at us all. “We’re a family!” he kept saying. “Now goddamn it, let’s act like one!”

I will say that when they had Carl mount me, like I was his play thing or something, that really got me upset—and I don’t anger easily. That director just kept on saying that they needed some good mating shots and the stuff they were getting was great stuff. That’s all the kept saying, “Oh yeah, great stuff. Really great stuff.” Carl is usually much more of a romancer. And it’s never in front of the kids like that.

Brother Lion (Tommy)

So like, I tell everyone by the grassy plains and everyone by the river that we’re going to be on TV and boy, was that ever a mistake. We all looked like chumps. It’s all in the editing. Sure, I guess I must have chased a couple zebras and gazelles before I caught one, but they just played my missed attempts all in a row—like two weeks worth of chasing—and talked about how sometimes we are unsuccessful. What the eff! Everybody by the river has been on me about that, calling me Wendy and telling me I hunt like girl. And when I did get one, they ran out of film and told me I had to do it again. So that last zebra that you see, they brought that guy in. He was old and slow and it was like, embarrassing chasing him down. I actually didn’t even want to do it. Mama said she actually knew that zebra, they took a ceramics class together or something—but they made me do it. I like it better when it’s just those old Land Rovers piled with wealthy people with hats and scarves on their heads taking pictures and clapping.

Sister Lion (Tiffany)

They took shots of me pooping! Can you believe that? Get a life! I was all the way over by the far shrubs, doing my business—my business!—and I turn and notice everybody right there behind me. One guy who was holding this huge mirror thing, reflecting light on my behind, was giggling. Getting his kicks. Becky and Vanessa say that that is an invasion of privacy and I can get all those guys fired. Becky said that her cousin’s best friend knows this crocodile and she got this guy fired for touching her where she didn’t give him permission to touch.

Those shots of me and Tommy cleaning each other! Fakes! We’re family, we don’t do that stuff. Gross! That was me and Todd Sherman. We were dating, but now Mama won’t let me see him and when I finally snuck off and found him he was all, “I don’t clean girls who poop on camera” and stuff. And those shots of me with like, my whole head in the zebra, they told me they stopped filming and I could dig in. I hadn’t eaten in days. The buffet they had set up was horrible—little sandwiches and salads—I was starving.