Why is Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ so popular? Is it worthy of hype?
If you’ve been on social media these days, it’s hard to miss the newest craze for Netflix’s Squid Game. In fact, according to Ted Sarandos, the co-CEO of the streaming giant, Squid Game might even become the biggest show ever hosted on the platform. Everyone’s watching it, everyone’s talking about it . . . so what’s the mystery ingredient in the show that’s making it so catchy?
We look into the reasons behind the popularity of the show.
The supplier of meme material
Nothing ensures the wildfire-like popularity & virality of a show like word-of-mouth on social media. People have been voraciously devouring the show and sharing the parts they liked the best. Given the genre, there’s a lot to mourn & less to celebrate, but the concept is intriguing enough to create a buzz.
I'm only three episodes in #SquidGame pic.twitter.com/cvmWJDiH1T
— 🔎Ｓｉｒ５０００⚖️ 🔜 𝕃𝕠𝕤𝕥 𝕁𝕦𝕕𝕘𝕞𝕖𝕟𝕥 (@Sir5000) October 4, 2021
That explains why people have been sharing how spine-chilling the viewing experience is, just 3 episodes in.
#squidgamenetflix #SquidGame [067 x 240]
in my world they’re safe and sound pic.twitter.com/1tRLLJjA1a
— mauv #saveyakutia #спаситеякутию (@mauvta) October 5, 2021
People are comforting themselves with alternate realities they’ve made from the show. Fan art has been pouring in since.
sometimes you get over things….this is NOT one of those times #squidgame pic.twitter.com/UCrcTys55V
— daria ❀ دریا (@full_oflit) October 5, 2021
Others are having a hard time getting over the destruction.
Tag the 240 to your 067 ❤️ #SquidGame pic.twitter.com/77pthMJQre
— Netflix Malaysia (@NetflixMY) October 5, 2021
It’s also brought us new friendship goals.
Who doesn’t love a good survival game?
Another good reason Squid Game immediately got so viral is that it takes us back to the basics: survival. As pandemic survivors, we are already in survival mode, so watching an exaggerated version of a survival tactic, completely opposite to our own isolation-driven survival tactic is oddly comforting.
Just like The Hunger Games or Battle Royale, Squid Game invited more than 400 people dealing with varying amounts of enormous debt to a game where they can win a prize of up to $38.5 million. The alternative, of course, is death. Based on Korean children’s games (seriously?), Squid Game keeps the premise simple.
Dong-hyuk Hwang, director-writer of the viral series attributes the roaring success to its simplicity, “Viewers can focus more on the complexities of the characters and be fully immersed in the story when the rules of the games are simple. People are attracted to the chilling irony of grown-up adults risking their lives to win money to repay their debts by playing kids’ games.”
How to make a statement
It’s also being discussed widely that part of the appeal of Squid Game is that it takes elements from the Korean culture & puts them in the larger backdrop of global issues. The ugly trifecta of corporate greed, capitalistic tendencies, and hyper-competitiveness kills people, and this game shows us how, literally.
Thriving ground for Korean entertainment
There are two more trends that intersect for the perfect recipe behind Squid Game’s success. One, non-English language shows are gaining ground. Look at the uproar Money Heist caused. It was originally in Spanish. India is churning out a lot of desi content too. Non-English language shows are now being offered on the platform & viewers are no longer hesitant to try them.
Second, the Korean entertainment scene is blooming in an unprecedented manner. Look at fans of the pop culture icons. BTS has its Army. K-pop in general has a massive fan base. Then there are movies like Parasite that have made waves at the Academy Awards. Releasing Squid Game simultaneously for all audiences around the globe has worked in the giant’s favor, despite lawsuits.
Netflix is currently also battling a huge lawsuit from SK Broadband, an internet service provider that claims that Netflix generates the second-largest traffic in the country after YouTube, but doesn’t pay network usage fees, even though this number hovers at around 1.2 trillion bits of data per second for the month of September alone.