TV Show Review: Squid Game


Lissette Peña, Writer

After more than a year of quarantine, everyone has had enough time to watch and re-watch their favorite TV shows. That’s why it is always great news when a streaming platform releases new material that occupies your time. This was the case with Netflix’s September release of the South Korean drama “Squid Game.” With more than 140 millions views, “Squid Game” became the most watched show on the platform soon after its release, beating big shows like “Bridgerton” and “Stranger Things”. 

“Squid Game” is a survival drama focus on 456 adults, who are in deep need of money and are invited to play a series children games in order to win a cash prize of 45.6 billion won or $38 million USD. The show takes a dark turn as soon as the first game begins. The contestants quickly discover that losing a game results in their death. The protagonist, Seong Gi-hun, decided to play the game to pay for all his debts and have financial stability to gain custody of his daughter. Similarly, every contestant is in a huge debt or involved in problems as horrifying as the games.

The nine episode show is filled with intense and graphic violence not suitable for all audiences. The show works as a social commentary illustrating the class differences presented in our society. How the elite class find entertainment in the misery of the lower class, and the cold treatment of their deaths conveys that the players are insignificant because of their lack of money.

The game itself is a representation of the capitalist system. The VIPs and the Front Man are the leaders, the ones in power, creating rules for the rest to follow that usually don’t apply to them. The guards ensure the rules so the players play with “fairness”, protecting the upper class from losing power. The protagonist, Seong Gi-hun, is part of the lower class, a person with flaws but deep down a good soul. Choo Sang-woo represents the criminals that will do whatever it takes to get to the top, and showed us that, despite our society’s belief, intelligence does not equal success. Abdul Ali is a representation of the immigrant workers who helped build the economy of a country, but are usually the ones taken advantage of and mistreated. 

When asked about her opinion on the TV show, senior Erika Reyes, mentioned that the show reminded her of our society. 

“It’s a show that resembles the amount of reality that unfortunately happens in the real world. All the ambition, where money is the center of an individual’s life and how close to the edge they will get to obtain it.” 

Many would dismiss the show as aggressive, without much depth and even consider it is encouraging children to act violently or see this as normal. Parents around the world are concerned about how this type of show might affect their children and are trying to ban the K-drama. One mother of a student at PASE won’t allow her children to watch the show considering it ‘diabolical’.

“I don’t understand why it got so much hype. How could anyone want to watch people dying?” . 

The opinions on the show varies between the group ages, but despite these controversial thoughts the show might get renewed for a new season. Initially, the creator and director, Hwang Dong-hyuk, wasn’t planning on writing a second season but after the huge success the series had worldwide, he announced that he had started working on a script.

If you like dystopian stories, suspense, darkness, tragedy, horror, drama and comedy, then “Squid Game” is the show to watch. With a great review from Rotten tomatoes of 94%, the South Korean drama will have you on the edge of your seat begging for more.