Netflix show ‘Squid Game’ becomes a success internationally


Photo Courtesy / Rotten Tomatoes

87 million people have watched Squid Game in its entirety.

Alejandra Salas, Editor

Spoiler Alert: The following article reveals details of the series’ plot.

The recently released South Korean drama, ‘Squid Game’ is Netflix’s biggest debut hit, as it reached 111 million viewers worldwide since its release on Sep. 17. ‘Squid Game’ portrays the growing debt and economic inequality problem in Korea, all while it incorporates real children’s games which were popular in the 70s and 80s. In ‘Squid Game’, a group of indebted people are offered an opportunity to gain a total amount of 45.6 billion won. However, it’s nowhere as easy as it sounds. The 456 contestants participated in a total of seven games that had their lives hanging on by a thread. While watching, my eyes were glued to the screen as I saw the gritty portrayal of classic children’s games and an accurate depiction of capitalism and economic greed.

For those that haven’t watched ‘Squid Game’, you may be wondering why did this show get so popular? To that I have to say; in my opinion, social media played a huge influence in its rise in popularity as well as it being a Netflix show. Adding onto that, ‘Squid Game’ has characters with unfortunate, yet relatable lives. Gi-Hun, Sang-Woo, Sae-Byeok, and Abdul Ali were just some of the protagonists in the series. Their backstories included of hardships, some of them involved gambling, stealing, divorce, and the major ones; debt and poverty. In the first episodes, the show greatly displays the living effects of capitalism.

During the first episode, we take a peek into Gi-Hun’s life and his prolonging struggles with money. Due to his long list of money troubles, he is a coerced into a twisted series of children’s games. Just like him, 455 others were coerced into the game under the impression that they would be given an opportunity to solve their money problems. They were unaware of the fatal scheme they had gotten into, which is controlled by rich billionaires who saw their lives and struggles as nothing but a form of entertainment.

‘Squid Game’ is a hyperbolic metaphor for the coercive nature of capitalism. It shows the length people will go to in order to live a financially secure life under a capitalist society. Even though they were given a second chance to back out of the game, their lives were deemed unlivable. Therefore, they were drawn back into the game. There is an illusion of choice; when you choose not to work, you limit your access to necessities, and without those things, you cannot survive.

For the most part, ‘Squid Game’ is an enjoyable and addicting series that shows a deeper message that goes beyond just a game. It makes you feel all sorts of emotions; from sadness when Ali and Sae-Byeok died, to nervousness when they fought for their lives in a mind- boggling game of tug-of-war. Despite all the bitterness, it does have its share of bittersweet moments. It depicts an unexpected, yet strong bond between Sae-Byeok and Ji-Yeong and the importance of teamwork in order to survive. As expressed, ‘Squid Game’ is worth the watch as it has powerful performances, messages, and a change of pace from your typical Netflix American series.