Netflix's dystopian hit exploits concerns of South Korea regarding housing and the economic budget scarce jobs, family concerns to its American and international viewers.
SEOUL - In Squid Game ", the hit dystopian TV show on Netflix, 456 people facing serious debt and financial desperation play a series of games of mortal children to win a $ 38 million cash prize in South Korea.
Koo Yong-hyun, an Office Worker of 35years in Seoul, has never had to face off against masked homicidal guards or competitors to slit his throat like the characters on the show do. But Mr. Koo, who watched " Squid Game "in one night said he sympathized with the characters and their struggle to survive in the country's deeply unequal society.
Mr. Koo, who got off on freelance assignments and government unemployment checks after losing his stable job, said that 'it was "almost impossible to live comfortably on the salary of a regular employee in a city where house prices are soaring . Like many young people in South Korea and elsewhere, Mr. Koosees increasing competition to grab a piece of a shrinking pie, as do con testants in " Squid Game .
These similarities helped turn the nine-episode drama into an unlikely international sensation. " Squid Game " is now the highest rated show in the US on Netflix and is on track to become one of the most watched shows in the history of the streaming service . "Chances are this is our greatest show ever ", Ted Sarandos , co-CEO of Netflix, said at a recent business conference.
Culturally, the show has elicited an online embrace of its distinct visuals, especially the black masks decorated with simple squares and triangles worn by the anonymous guards, and a worldwide curiosity for the Korean children's games that underpin the deadly competitions. Recipes for dalgona , the sweet Korean treat at the center of a particularly tense confrontation, has gone viral. Image A store in Seoul selling “Squid Game” themed dalgona. Credit ... Heo Ran / Reuters
Like the " Hunger Games "books and movies , " Squid Game ”holds its audience with its violent tone, cynical plot and - spoiler alert! - a willingness to kill fan favorite characters . But it also exploited a meaning familiar to people in the United States , Western Europe and other places, as prosperity in countries nominally rich has become more thn harder to reach, like Wealth disparities are widening and house prices exceed affordable levels.
" The stories and the character issues are extremely personalized but also reflect the issues and realities of Korean society, "Hwang Dong-hyuk, the show's creator, said in an email. He wrote the screenplay as a movie in 2008, when many of these trends had become evident, but overhau caused him to reflect new concerns including the impact of the coronavirus. (Minyoung Kim, content manager for the Asia-Pacific region at Netflix, said the company is in talks with Mr. Hwang to produce a second season.)
Squid Game " is just the latest South Korean cultural export to win a global audience by exploiting the country's deep feelings of inequality and ebb. "Parasite ", the 2019 Oscar-winning film, paired a desperate family of crooks with the oblivious members of a wealthy Seoul family. "Burning ", a 2018 art-house hit, created tension by pitting a young delivery boy against an affluent rival to lure the attention of a woman. Image The masked guards of "Squid Game" engage in violence during the competitions. Credit ... Netflix
Korea The South experienced a boom in the postwar period, making it one of the richest countries in Asia and leading some economists to call its rise the “miracle on the Han River.” But the wealth disparity has worsened as the economy matures.
"South Koreans had a collective community spirit," said Yun Suk-jin, drama critic and professor of modern literature at National Chungnam University. But the financial crisis Asian culture of the late 1990s undermined the country's positive growth and "made everyone fight for themselves.
The country is now class n ° 11 according to the coeffGini's icient, a measure of income inequality, among members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development , the research group for the richest nations in the world. (US # 6)
As South Korean families tried to keep up, household debt rose, prompting some economists to warn that debt could dampen the economy. House prices have soared to the point where housing affordability has become a hot political topic. Prices in Seoul soared by more than 50% during the tenure of the country's President, Moon Jae-in, and led to a political scandal.
" Squid Game "bares ironie between the data the social pressure to succeed in South Korea and the difficulty of doing so, said Shin Yeeun, a university graduate in January 2020, just before the pandemic does not strike. Now 27, she said she spent over a year looking for stable employment.
What you need to know about 'Squid Ga me'
Have you ever heard of this South Korean drama? It was released on Netflix on September 17 and quickly gained a worldwide audience. Here's a look at that dystopian hit:
- Behind the call global: "Squid Game" addresses concernsudes from South Korea regarding expensive housing and rare jobs , concerns familiar to its American and international viewers.
- To read on the show: You yourself ask if you should dive? We have put together which is worth 'be read from the Oceans Ink about the series.
- What is Dalgona Candy ? : Interest in the South Korean candy has increased since the start of the series. Here's why .
- What to watch next: You're done with "Squid Game " and loved it? Add these six TV shows and movies to your streaming queue.
"It's really hard for people in their twenties to find full-time jobs these days," she said.
South Korea has also suffered a sharp drop in births , generated in part by sentiment among young people who are too expensive to raise children.
"In South Korea, all parents want to send their children to the best schools", Ms Shin said. “For that, you have to live in the best neighborhoods. "It would require saving enough money to buy a house, a goal so unrealistic" that I never even took the plunge.eine to calculate how long it will take me, ”Ms. Shin said. Image The characters on the show receive invitations to participate in the squid game. Credit ... Netflix
"Squid Game " revolves around Seong Gi-hun, a gambling addict in his forties who cannot afford to buy his daughter a gift from appropriate birthday or pay for her aging mother's medical bills. One day, he was offered the chance to participate in the Squid Game, a private event organized for the disturbance of wealthy people. to claim the $ 38 million prize, participants must go through six traditional Korean children's game series. failure means mort.
The 456 candidates speak directly about many of the country's anxieties. One is a graduate of Seoul National University, the best university in the country, who is wanted for mismanagement h are client funds. Another is a North Korean defector who has to take care of her brother and help her mother escape from the North. Another character is an immigrant worker whose boss refuses to pay his salary.
The characters have resonated with young South Koreans who see no chance to progress in society. Known locally as " dust spoon ”, many are obsessed with getting-rich-quick ways, such as with cryptocurrencies and the lottery. South Korea has one of the the biggest markets for virtual currency in the world .
Like the issue's cash prize, cryptocurrencies give "people the chance to change their lives in a second," said Mr. Koo, the office worker Mr. Koo, whose former employer went out of business during the pandemic, said difficulty making money is one of the reasons why South Koreans are so obsessed with making money fast.
"I wonder how many people would participate if the 'Squid Game ' took place in real life "he said. Image Seong Gi-hu n, the protagonist of the show, entering an arena for the one of the jthem. Credit ... Netflix