by Anoushka Rohan (’24) | November 19, 2021
Although it was released in early September, almost everyone has watched or at least heard of the Netflix TV show, Squid Game. The premise of the hit series was simple: contestants in dire need of money played simple children’s games in order to win an enormous cash prize. However, these games turned fatal and the losers of each game were murdered. With each contestant eliminated, the cash prize increased. Yet at the center of this violent chaos, the main focus of the show was basic human nature. There are characters who would sacrifice anything for the cash prize, even backstab their closest friends. Yet there were others who completely trusted their fellow contestants, even if it led to their own downfalls. This human nature is what the orchestrators of the game, or the VIPs, took advantage of and used for their own entertainment. The VIPs funded the games and placed bets on their favorite contestants, taking pleasure in the cruel massacre of innocent people. Because of this portrayal, many have considered Squid Game to also be a criticism of the capitalist society we live in today.
Squid Game also contains appealing sets and brilliant acting. But what makes it so compelling is the bond between contestants and the lengths people are willing to go to for the prize. While the show is in Korean, its message is universal, which is why millions of people were invested in it. In fact, Squid Game broke Netflix streaming records, topping three billion streams in one week, along with famous shows such as You, Tiger King, and The Umbrella Academy. While Squid Game definitely achieved popularity due to its unique plot, its numbers were also boosted by promotion on social media. This also led to numerous TikTok trends, with influencers even claiming to create a “real life” Squid Game. While some of these TikTok trends ignored the message of the show with their humorous take on the games, they certainly generated a buzz around the show and helped it gain popularity.
With the cliffhanger ending to season one, fans of the show eagerly await a second season. The creator of Squid Game has confirmed a season two, and it is safe to assume that it will also break streaming records. However, by no means is Squid Game a perfect show. The storyline itself is highly implausible, with several plot holes that are hard to miss. For example, how do authorities or the government not notice that several hundreds of people go missing each year, never to return? How does no one wonder how someone in debt gains billions of won overnight? Despite these plot holes, Squid Game’s social commentary, fantastic sets, and unique script all make for an interesting, and more so, entertaining watch. At a time of global crisis, Squid Game comes as a breath of fresh air to exhausted viewers.