No Subtitles Needed: Squid Game’s Popularity Skyrockets

No Subtitles Needed: Squid Games Popularity Skyrockets

Leah Klein, Staff Writer

Squid Game was released on Netflix on September 17, 2021. Less than a month later, the South Korean drama TV show has broken Netflix’s records becoming the most popular show on the streaming app. 

There are nine episodes in the series, each being about forty-five minutes long. The show has more than 111 million viewers, and the number just keeps climbing. In around four weeks, it officially became more popular then Netflix’s previous top show, Bridgerton. It received 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 8.5 out of 10 rating from IMDb.

The show begins with showing the life that the protagonist, Seong Gi-Hun, leads. He lives in poverty with a severe gambling addiction and money owed to several people. His daughter, who lives with her mother and stepfather, will soon be moving to the United States. Gi-Hun fears that she will lose her Korean culture and forget about him. 

When offered to participate in a game to win a large amount of money, Seong Gi-Hun agrees to participate because he believes that there is nothing left to lose. A long black car with a man in a red tracksuit and black mask picks him up, and he is exposed to some sort of sleeping gas where he falls unconscious. Gi- Hun wakes up in a large room with hundreds of beds and hundreds (456 to be exact) of players. 

Unaware of the upcoming horrors, they begin to play a children’s game, red light green light. Any players who break the rules of the game are “eliminated,” and players cannot choose to quit once they begin playing. The first player moves while a monitor is watching, and a gunshot sounds. A player lays dead on the field. In panic, numerous players begin to run to the now closed doors where they entered, most falling dead before they reach there. 

More children’s games occur, such as carving out a shape in Dalgona candy, tug of war, hopping across glass stepping stones, playing with marbles, a fight in the dark, and finally Squid Game itself. 

While Squid Game interests millions of people, it features lots of blood and gore. Numerous players are seen shot dead and beaten up. A large shard of glass becomes lodged in one player’s abdomen, and another is seen hanging dead as a result of suicide. Because of the bloodshed the show depicts, those who typically don’t like violence in TV shows may not find this show appealing. 

Though Squid Game is a show for entertainment, it conveys a much deeper meaning than it may appear to. The game itself shows what it’s like to live in a capitalistic society. All players are told that they are equal, yet some hold advantages that others don’t, such as a physical strength or a lighter snuck into the game. Gi-Hun had an unknown advantage the entire time, as he had befriended an old man who was truly the creator of the entire game. A doctor who helped harvest organs in between the games was told the following game that would occur.

The purpose that game serves is to provide entertainment for the ultra-rich. These people are numbed to almost any pleasure life can provide from living with such an excess amount of money. They resort to finding entertainment in the player’s misery and pain. While the “VIPs”, as they are called, lounge in a luxurious room with any amenities they could desire, players of Squid Game are killed off one by one. They place bets on players, and the humans in the game are later compared to race horses who are also bet on. The VIPs laugh as players fall to their death during the game of glass stepping stones.  

Squid Game’s constant suspense and action make it an enjoyable show to watch. The underlying themes that reside in it create a lasting impact that is taken away from the show.