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‘Squid Game’ game show proves Netflix missed the point

‘Squid Game’ game show proves Netflix missed the point

‘Squid Game’ game show proves Netflix missed the point
July 07
13:00 2022

“Squid Game” quickly became one of the most popular pieces of media to come out in 2021. Since its release, Netflix has been doing anything and everything possible to capitalize on the hit show. Both a season two and a spin-off game show have been greenlit, with the streaming service announcing the news over the last couple of months. Any fan of the show can agree this exploitative direction is against everything the first season of the show stood for.

Promoted as the biggest reality competition ever, “Squid Game: The Challenge” will feature 456 players. Every individual will be competing for a cash prize of $4.56 million — one of the biggest payouts in television history. At surface level, this seems like a step forward for entertainment being brought to our televisions. Unfortunately, anyone who has seen the show knows this seems almost too tone-deaf to be true.

The reality show received the thumbs up from “Squid Game” director Hwang Dong-hyuk, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the show has his support, hopefully, it will contribute to some greater cause.

$4.56 million is a lot of money, although surely a popular company like Netflix will be able to provide the money to the winner of the competition. However, 300 employees were recently let go from the company due to their struggling financials. More employees are expected to be let go in the coming months, according to Variety.

If Netflix is truly trying to combat its weakened stock price, creating a competition with a prize of nearly $5 million may not be the route to choose. Season two of the show has also been announced, which will be sure to bring eyes to the television. If they wanted
to provide for their employees, they would choose to pay them over putting millions into an unnecessary game show.

The entirety of “Squid Game” comments on how people of higher classes getting enjoyment out of those desperate for money is wrong, which is more or less what this game show feels like. It is going to get millions of views and be wildly successful, but it goes completely against what the show means.

It just feels strange and that strangeness was also felt when YouTube star Mr. Beast recreated the show in his viral video. It certainly feels stranger knowing Netflix is going against the original show’s message. Dong-hyuk has gone on to praise these videos because they promote the show, so if there is support from the source itself, it shouldn’t be something to be too upset about.

If they want to make sure this game show is successful, there are many things Netflix can do to make it a positive experience for everyone involved. Parts of the prize can go to charity or organizations of Dong-hyuk’s choosing. There could also be an option where all 456 players can walk out with some sort of prize, as well as donate some of the money to a charity of their choosing.

If the show is released on a weekly basis, viewers can vote on their favorite contestants week by week. Contestants could have a charity chosen before entering the show, and if they win the weekly vote, a portion of the money could go to the organization chosen by the contestant. There are ways to make this a positive experience, and hopefully, with guidance from Dong-hyuk, it can be beneficial for a lot of people.

While many may shrug it off and look at the reality show as nothing more than basic entertainment, it can take away from others who were moved by the message of the original show. What made “Squid Game” so popular was its ability to be something completely different from other pieces of media, while still having a forceful message.

With both the game show and season two still developing, there is nothing to be too concerned about just yet. The most frustrating factor is the employees who are now out of a job and have to watch their former employers put millions into a game show no one asked for.

Featured Illustration by Cuinn Cornwell

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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