Squid Game: An International Phenomenon

The show “Squid Game” has become Netflix’s most popular show worldwide, just a month after its release on September 17, 2021.

Squid Game is Netflix’s most popular show in any language, surpassing other series such as “House of Cards”, “The Crown”, “Lupin”, and even Shonda Rhime’s “Bridgerton”. As of this date, it has topped the streaming service’s drama charts in all 83 countries where it is available.

The premise from Squid Game consists of a classical survival death game, just like “The Hunger Games” and “Battle Royale”. More than 400 people were invited to participate because of their large financial debt with the promise of winning a $38.5 million prize, and settling their decaying economic situation. The participants have to compete against each other in different games, each one of them based on Korean children’s games such as “Dalgona Candy” or “Red Light, Green Light.” Nonetheless, if they aren’t lucky enough to go the next round, what awaits them is a brutal and ultimate death.

There are many theories in regards to Squid Game’s global popularity. Experts state that it has to do with the implementation of particular elements of Korean culture to criticize aspects of society, such as capitalism and the competitiveness between people nowadays. On the other hand, Dong-hyuk Hwang, director and writer of the show, believes that such popularity is thanks to its ‘simplicity.’ He stated, “Viewers can focus more on the complexities of the characters and be fully immersed in the story when the rules of the game are simple… People are attracted to the chilling irony of grown-up adults risking their lives to win money to repay their debts by playing kid’s games.”

Moreover, in our ANS community, students, faculty, and even Alumni have been discussing their opinions about the show. Ms. Lippay, a Secondary English teacher, is a big fan and enjoyed the symbolism in the last episode. Senior Juliana Osorio stated that it was an emotional rollercoaster that never ends, due to the cliffhangers that each episode leaves the viewer on. Anastasio Ortiz, an ANS Alumni graduated in 2021, pointed out how the series recreates the capitalistic society we live in, being driven by a fortunate few, and the amount of sacrifice needed to improve your status.

No matter what is the real cause of “Squid Game”’spopularity, viewers can definitely agree on how much they’ve enjoyed watching this Korean series. Fans are now constantly asking for a sequel to the popular show, to which Hwang responded, “I don’t have well-developed plans for ‘Squid Game 2.’ It is quite tiring just thinking about it. But if I were to do it, I would certainly not do it alone. I’d consider using a writer’s room and would want multiple experienced directors.” 

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