By Riley Coyne ’24
Claiming the number one spot in the Top 10 Today section on Netflix for nearly a week, Squid Game is all people can talk about right now. Since the premiere of the show on Sept. 17, it has officially become the most-watched show on Netflix of all time. According to the streaming platform itself, Squid Game has racked in 111 million viewers, “making it our biggest series launch ever.”
The popularity for this show originated in Korea, since it was originally written in Korean and is set in Seoul. However, the series quickly blew up in the United States after English voiceover and subtitles were added. This allowed the show to reach a much broader audience outside of Korea.
However, critics such as comedian Youngmi Mayer have expressed that the translation was poorly done. After watching the series, Mayer took to Twitter saying, “Not to sound snobby, but I’m fluent in Korean and I watched Squid Game with English subtitles and if you don’t understand Korean you didn’t really watch the same show. Translation was so bad. The dialogue was written so well and zero of it was preserved.” The situation is unfortunate for viewers outside of Korea.
The basis of the show concerns 456 players that agree to sign up for a series of games in an attempt to win the cash prize offered so they can repay the overwhelming amount of debt that they are suffering from. They play children’s games popular in Western culture, such as Red Light Green Light and Tug of War, as well as other games exclusive to Korean childhood like the titular Squid Game and a game with a honeycomb, known as dalgona.
The idea is similar to that of the popular book and movie series, The Hunger Games. Players are pitted against each other to win the prize money that is at stake. Players who mess up or do not complete the game in the given time frame are eliminated, except there’s one catch: When the rules stated that contestants would be eliminated from the game, they forgot to specify that the elimination would be of the permanent variety. These games, like the Hunger Games, quite literally mean life or death for the players.
South Korean fashion model HoYeon Jung made her acting debut in this season and the response has been nothing but positive for her beloved character Sae-Byeok. Jung only had roughly a hundred thousand followers on Instagram before the debut of Squid Game, and now, after just a few weeks of the series’ release, she has over twenty million. This drastic increase in Jung’s social media following further emphasizes how big of a hit the show has become.
While a second season has yet to be confirmed by producers, fans assume, and certainly hope, that there will be a sequel, especially considering the questions left unanswered in the first season.
What, exactly, are those questions? Those interested will have to watch Squid Game and discover the chaos for themselves.