By Aidan Morales
Note: This article will contain minor spoilers. Read at your own risk.
The Republic of Korea is one of the most culturally influential countries in the world, leading in music and technology. Seoul lights, K-Pop, and a bright combination of culture and modernity, South Korea is the 20th most visited country in the world. However, life in South Korea isn’t always as glamorous as people make it out to be. South Korea scored third from the bottom in the United Nations World Happiness Index. This might seem terrible and almost slanderous but you must also realize that the richest country in the world, the United States, is 19th on the list. Despite the fact that these countries continue to modernize and develop; happiness is on the low side and household debt is on the rise. Squid Game is one of the first popular pieces of Korean media in the west that exemplifies the darker side of South Korea; poverty of citizens, immigrants, and criminal organizations.
However, this is exactly what the rich and elite take advantage of – or rather who they take advantage of – in Squid Game. Advertised as a way to relieve your debt by playing common Korean children’s games, 456 players have their human rights signed away and are all brought to an unknown location.
Debt in both South Korea and the United States is higher than ever, while happiness is stagnant. Many people are struggling to make ends meet and barely make all their payments. While debt seems like a fancy “IOU,” financial debt is a hole that keeps getting wider and wider, as the longer you have it the bigger it gets. At one point, you just can’t get out of it and you either go bankrupt or die trying to claw your way out. Especially in America, debt is a way of life. Our country itself is in major debt that we will most likely never be able to pay back.
Yet, right in front of Seong Gi-hun is an opportunity that seems too good to be true. A children’s game.
On the cusp of October, Squid Game flooded the internet. TikToks, news articles, youtube videos, and more are garnering millions of clicks and views. All the while, the show is quickly becoming one of the most-watched shows on Netflix, skyrocketing in popularity. The extremely popular show didn’t get here without struggle though. In recent news, it was revealed that the script was first written in 2008, more than ten years before its release. Hwang Dong-hyuk, the writer, failed to obtain any support from any production company. It was only until 2019 that he was actually able to put his script into action.
Squid Game’s methodical mixture of professional cinematography and great storytelling truly captivated many, even audiences who don’t speak Korean. The series begins with Seong Gi-hun, a gambling addict, just living his normal life. This continues with the entirety of the first episode actually, giving the viewer a slow introduction into the series. An extremely binge-worthy show, Squid Game succeeds in captivating the audience and keeping them still. Even reading the subtitles, the characters felt scarily genuine. In a Lord of The Flies-esque fashion, you see this diverse group of people quickly turn into their best or worst versions of themselves; selflessness and selfishness,
Whether viewed as a commentary on capitalism or just a messed up game show, Squid Game is sure to please anyone, as long as you like realistic gore and the hierarchy of society flipped on its head.
Special Awesome Aidan Score: 4.8/5 ★