Squid Game Hype Unjustified



Squid Game has reportedly been watched by two-thirds of Netflix subscribers.

Paul Tyndall, Staff Writer

Squid Game is all the rage these days and critical reception has also been quite outstanding, with the critic rating coming in at 100 percent in just the first week of release on Rotten Tomatoes and still hovering above the 90-marking point with a 91 percent. Words like “Sharp” and “Tender” were thrown around in the summary for season one. All of this can make someone wonder if the show was worth the watch.

The quick answer is not really. Squid Game, unfortunately, is nothing new and suffers from too many discrepancies to even be called subpar.

Gi Hun (Park Hae Soo) is the central character of the show, a poor gambler with a slacker attitude. He wants to be a real father to his daughter, who is going to America with her mother and step-father. Gi Hun, desperate, signs up for a game opportunity that was given to him after playing ddakji (a simple Korean children’s game) with a mysterious businessman of sorts. The game is soon revealed to be a dystopian death trap run by masked sociopaths, where a player’s defeat means certain death.

One of the biggest problems with the show is Gi Hun’s position as a flat character. The audience only knows two major things about him: he is horrible to his family and creates more problems for himself by gambling away his money. Throughout eight episodes, nothing new is learned about this character except the fact that he needs other people to fix his problems and he saw someone die once (something he never talks about again after mentioning it).

The problem here lies not only with Gi Hun, but nearly every other secondary character in the show. The audience learns something about them, and then that’s all there is to them.

Languorous and downtrodden are some qualities that could be attributed to one player, North Korean defector Sae Byeok (HoYeon Jung). One of her defining qualities is her unwavering commitment to deliver her parents from North Korea to South Korea. It’s revealed that her father died in an attempt to cross the border.

Her mother is still around somewhere, yet is never mentioned again after the revelation. Her storyline ends up going nowhere, with the only payoff being her brother being delivered home safely.

…the tension in the story stops building by the end of the first episode.

Abdul Ali (Anupam Tripathi) is the most wasted character in a show full of dead air. It wouldn’t be surprising if the recent viewers of the show forgot his existence.

Ali originates from Pakistan and needs money to help see his family over the border. Ali becomes a critical stepping stone towards the motion of the show when he actively becomes involved in Gi Hun and other players’ storylines. However, after he is shot in the head, not one of the characters even speaks his name again.

Fortunately, the cinematography, acting, and general production in the show are put together with loving care that’s hard to come by, especially in American television. But the tension in the story stops building by the end of the first episode.

The show’s gritty twist on basic children’s games is intriguing but grows old rather quickly. The director claims the basic ideas behind the games come from the worry of dragging the audience’s focus away from the characters, but the opposite is true.

“Squid Game” (Netflix)

The characters need more complex challenges to build up what they are sorely lacking. Situations most of the main characters are put in when related to team building are shallow attempts to make us think these people are not in some emotional stasis.

The director also claims the general theme has something to do with class struggle and the fight against capitalism. There’s no point in arguing against the theme itself; it’s more the fact that they claim to have some all-important message yet are incapable of putting fiction into reality.

Netflix is the biggest streaming company in the world at this point, and with the worldwide success of this show, who couldn’t resist the call of a second season. Squid Game merchandise is already all around us. Mugs, t-shirts, pajamas, and plushies are already flying off the shelves. The great citizens of our country are filling their fat, greasy, volatile, and repugnant hands with plushies of Ali.


Oh, it’s ok.

We won’t remember a year from now anyway.