Everyone is Playing ‘Squid Game’

The deeply emotional appeal of the world’s most popular show

Squid Game has taken the world by storm in the past week. Currently the most popular show on Netflix in nearly every country, Squid Game provides the audience with excellent storytelling, directing, and acting that delivers a compelling and heart wrenching plot line. When watching Squid Game, it’s easy to tell the amount of care and effort that went into developing the world of the show, as well as the characters. It is one of the few shows I have watched recently that I haven’t forgotten a day later. It really stuck with me.

Press play to hear a narrated version of this story, presented by AudioHopper.

In recent years, Netflix has done a great job creating and marketing new international shows. Money Heist, Ragnarok, and 3% are all excellent examples of this. Squid Game shows that Netflix continues to know what they are doing when it comes to making and marketing original series. The show is going viral on TikTok, along with Twitter and numerous other social media platforms, and for good reads. Squid Game is not your average popular violent TV show. In only nine episodes it managed to make me feel more emotion for the characters than I have in five seasons of other shows.

In Squid Game a bunch of obscenely rich psychopaths make poor people play in a competition for money, where they play different rounds of children’s games. And if you lose, they kill you. Squid Game reminded me of The Hunger Games in that it consists of rich people forcing poor people to kill each other for sport.

However, Squid Game is a lot more realistic, and it takes place in the modern day with modern people. It’s a twisted take on capitalism, but at the same time it’s more than that. It’s a critique on the very idea of money and monetary value itself. Consistently throughout the show, people form and then ruin relationships over the idea of money. People will betray their loved ones, and hurt other people at the prospect of getting a large sum of money.

Throughout Squid Game you can see the psychological struggles of the various players as they progress further and further into the game. At some point the idea of death normalizes for them, which shows even deeper underlying issues within their psyche. The show does an excellent job at pointing out the mental decline of several characters as well as the moral issues they have to face. The show points out a central struggle of modern life: that money can’t buy happiness, but our society gives people the illusion that it can. This leads to people living flawed, hopeless lives where they do nothing but search for monetary stability that they can never find because they haven’t stopped to look at the relationships in their own life and how their desire for wealth is affecting them.

The most appealing part of the show is the ridiculous children’s games the players must compete in for the money. People have posted Red Light Green Light, the first game they play, all over TikTok and the rest of the internet. They go on to do more simple games like guessing games or playing with marbles, but each time the stakes just get higher and more intense. The psychological torment the players go through after playing life or death games from their childhood is very apparent. It allows you to feel for them more than you normally would for a character in a show.

Squid Game is so violently realistic when it comes to how the people act that it makes it very difficult to watch at times. There’s considerable gore throughout all parts of the series, multiple suicides on screen, and heart-wrenching scenes where players are forced to murder people they care about. If you want to watch one of the best, most intense, shows you have seen in a while, watch Squid Game, you won’t be disappointed. Just be sure to stop moving when someone says “Red Light.”

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Elijah Pollack

Elijah Pollack written for both Book and Film Globe and Rock and Roll Globe. He's also the cohost of the Extra Credit podcast on Audible, and has written for Observer.com.

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