Squid Game: Is the Hype deserved?


Benji Kohl, Writer

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Squid Game is a recently released South Korean Netflix television series directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk that has gained a large amount of attention over the past couple of months. This show is about a group of South Korean citizens that are deeply in debt and  who compete in a variety of children’s games for a large prize. However, the catch is that if they lose one of these kids games, they are killed. These games include Red Light Green Light, Sugar Honeycombs, Tug of War, and many more

Shortly after the show was released, it gained international recognition. Shortly thereafter, the show became the #1 TV Show in the US. 

Squid Game blew up on social media platforms such as TikTok. TikTok had countless “trends” created surrounding the show which just drew more attention and viewers into watching this show. The trends include parodies of Red Light Green Light, making their own honeycomb, and making other jokes about the games. Although the show rapidly rose to fame,  was all of the “hype” surrounding the show well deserved?

On social media platforms like TikTok, some people who watched Squid Game even made their own honeycomb. Image from Wikimedia Commons

Dennis Krolevich, a senior at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy (HBHA), who watched Squid Game, stated that this show deserves all the hype it gets, which “is saying a lot considering [he] usually doesn’t take overhyping very seriously for popular shows.” Krolevich stated that this show is “an exhilarating experience overall, and depicted some gruesome yet true habits of human nature.” 

Judah Schuster, a junior at HBHA, who also watched Squid Game, had a different opinion on the popularity of the show. Schuster said that some of the show’s “hype” was justified, but “overall, it shouldn’t be all over social media on almost every post.” Schuster explained that if someone is a fan of “violent or suspenseful” shows, it is definitely something that they should check out. 

Another aspect of the show that may hinder some people’s viewing experience is that the show was created in Korean. Therefore, if you want to watch the show as an English speaker, you have to watch it either with subtitles and the original Korean audio, or an English dubbed version. This brings up the question, how does this factor affect the viewing experience?

Krolevich watched the show with the original Korean audio and English subtitles and says the reason he does this is because “generally the emotion the actors put in their words don’t necessarily correlate to what is in the dubbed version.” Krolevich believes that the subtitles didn’t hinder his viewing of the show at all.

While some viewers are discouraged from watching Squid Game due to the violent nature, others are drawn in by this feature. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

On the other hand, Schuster watched the show with the English dubbed, and he said that it was great.  He “found it to tell a good story.” One downside that Schuster mentioned of watching it with the dubbed is that sometimes “the actors were still talking after the dubbed voice was done,” but even considering this inconvenience, Schuster found the dubbing not to change his viewing experience at all. 

Overall, the fact that this show has thrived as much as it has, its violence  might be concerning to some. Squid Game’s hyper-violent aspect has made a lasting impact on the TV show industry considering many recent popular thriller TV shows have been increasingly violent. These shows have thrived so much because of their violence and the fact that people are drawn to violence. When people watch these violent shows, they become both enticed and disgusted at the same time, so when they feel that they want to look away, they can’t because they are so drawn into the show.