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Why is everyone so obsessed with Squid Game?

(Warning: This article contains minor spoilers for the Netflix show Squid Game)

If you’ve been on the internet at all in the past few weeks, you’ve probably heard of Netflix’s newest series Squid Game.

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The Korean drama, directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, showcases a talented cast, and unique plotlines that draw an audience in.

But why is it so popular right now? Well, there’s many reasons why, most of them narrowing down to the fact that the show is undoubtedly really good.

However, I’ve listed below a few of the reasons why the show is trending at the moment, and why you should watch it if you haven’t yet.

Internet Trends

75FC5057 376F 4C42 A8D2 420C5B6442ACThe show follows characters as they navigate ‘games’ set up by a mysterious individual. The promise of a large sum of money motivates them to play, and audiences watch as they take on what may seem like innocent childhood games. The first game, Red Light, Green Light, seems almost fun.

Characters are instructed to run when a large animatronic girl says ‘green light’, and stop when she turns and says ‘red light’. However, this soon takes a sinister twist, which lingers and haunts the characters throughout every single game that follows.

All of the games reflect activities the characters played as children, which arguably makes the show even more chilling to watch. As morbid as it is, however, the show has sparked some recent online trends.

Viewers are currently having fun sharing online how they think they would do in certain games. Personally, when I was watching Squid Game, I was not feeling optimistic about my own chances. Many believe they could pass them, however, especially with the surface simplicity of a lot of the games. The second game played, however, has some viewers actually attempting it.

In the third episode of the show, audiences watch as the characters are given a candy called dalgona, a flat disc of honeycomb with a shape pressed into it. The objective is simple, break off the sides of the honeycomb treat in a way that leaves them with just the cutout shape from the middle. A recent trend, mainly on the app TikTok,has audiences trying this themselves. This has allowed them to try the task with much less dangerous consequences, and the results of it show that it may not be as easy as it seems.

A stellar cast

F93B619A B7A9 41B9 AAEC 1B4E666A8E77The public are also enjoying the performances coming from Squid Games’ cast. The characters are extremely interesting, and flawed in a strangely endearing way. Audiences have quickly chosen their favourites, and the ones they just love to hate. It’s clear these attachments have formed because of how well the actors play them.

The protagonist, Seong Gi-hun, is a character I admittedly didn’t like at the beginning of the show. He’s originally portrayed as a deadbeat father who’s not dependable, and spends all of his money gambling and racking up large debts. As Squid Game progresses, audiences watch his personal development, and see more of the world through his eyes. His character becomes so much more complex and interesting than before, and I believe that’s a credit to how well Lee Jung-jae plays him.

Two of my favourite characters in the show were Kang Sae-byeok and Abdul Ali. This pair were likeable in very different ways. In all the ways Ali was approachable and warm, Sae-byeok was isolated and cold. However, their backstories show a bigger picture to them both, and by the end of the show I found myself more attached to them than I’d expected. Hoyeon Jungs performance gives audiences a cool, confident character with a softer side, and Anupam Tripathi presents all of the softness, with more edge and confidence than expected.

Even some of the more secondary, or unlikeable characters, were a joy to watch on screen. The cast play their parts convincingly, and their performances are some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Some more standouts to me were Kim Joo-ryung, Wi Ha-joon and Lee Yoo-mi. The entire cast, however, make this show worth the watch.

Not just child’s play

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Squid Game can maybe seem gimmicky from afar. The bright colours, artificial setting, and childlike imagery create a set image in a viewers head. However, it goes a lot deeper than that, the show actually has strong underlying themes about inequality and suffering.

All of the characters participating in the shows ‘games’ are in serious debt. This already sets a tone for the show, these people are at their lowest points and are competing just to be able to survive again.

From the beginning, it’s clear the games organiser is wealthy. This narrative of the rich taking advantage of the poor is one that’s been shown a thousand times before, but now, there’s no subtlety to it.

The games are shown to viewers exactly as they are. People are facing a sinister consequence for losing, there is no doubt there. The show is powerful in the way it holds a mirror up to viewers. I’ll admit, at times I found myself rooting for certain characters downfalls, before realising the horrible implications of that.

Once viewers begin to enjoy the games, or root for certain people, it puts them in the seat of the rich who have put the protagonists in this situation. The show is smart in the way it does this, and it makes certain events so much more impactful.

Squid game also has strong themes of family throughout. We see many bonds, some great, some on the verge of breaking. This just makes the characters even more relatable, and often likeable. Their families are shown, the people they love are given screen time. It gives them strong personalities, and more reasons for audiences to root for their survival.

It also challenges the visual storytelling in the show. Each player has a number on their clothing that they are referred to as, but these backstories, bonds, and personalities make it so much harder to think of them as just a number.

A must-watch show

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Squid Game is definitely one of my favourite television releases of the year. It tells a compelling and complex story, as well as producing great characters played by immensely talented actors. I enjoyed every second of viewing time, and have already recommended it to the people in my life.

The show is originally in Korean, but can be translated to a range of languages through either a dub or subtitles. I personally watched in the originally language with English subtitles, and found it a great viewing experience.

If you want to be clued in on all the internet trends, or if you just want  a great show to binge watch, Squid Game is worth a view.

Squid Game is currently available to watch on Netflix.