Why ‘Squid Game’ has Become so Popular in America

Maggie Collins

Senior Staff Writer

I was first introduced to this Korean drama one day while on TikTok, it was a video of the first game that was played: Red Light, Green Light. I watched as one person moved when “Red Light” was called and they were shot dead. Following that death, everyone frantically ran and screamed which caused many more deaths to come. Like many others, once I saw this preview— I was in complete shock and wanted to know more about this crazy show.

PC: The Wee Flea

That is when I searched Netflix being intrigued by the gruesome scene I watched, and I knew I had to watch the series. It took me only a couple of days to finish all 9 episodes which were an hour long each. After watching 456 people compete willing to kill each other over money, I found a connection from the show to our present-day America. I first thought it to be crazy that so many people would be willing to risk their own lives and others just to get some money, but then I realized that is similar to America now. 

Many Americans can relate to the poverty and loneliness that some of the characters felt on this show. They struggled to make it day to day without money for food or to go to the hospital to get any necessary treatments. Gi-hun is number 456 in this show and his whole life he has struggled with money. He has lost his daughter, doesn’t have a job, and lives with his mother. He has been betting and gambling trying to make money to temporarily take care of things. Eventually, his mom ends up at the hospital, but she is forced to leave because she doesn’t have the money to pay for the bills since Gi-hun had already taken all of the money they had. 

While I’m not sure that Americans would join a Squid Game if the opportunity arises, I’m sure that many have thought about the possibility of playing just to win that prize of 45.6 Billion dollars. Some people in America are so desperate for money that they will do things such as rob banks, sell drugs, or engage in something like sex trafficking just to pay bills and get necessities like food and clothes. Many don’t even think about how this negatively impacts others in the process.

With the soaring number of people in poverty in America right now, it is easy to see how we can relate to this show so much. Before the players enter the game and throughout the game, we get to see many of their lives. We see how they were struggling to provide for themselves and their families and they were trying everything in reach to get money. Therefore, when the opportunity arose for such a large sum of money after just playing 6 games, they were convinced to win and go back to help their families. 

Society has molded us into money-hungry people because everything you do costs you money— and a lot at that. You can’t even go to a concert or the fair without having to pay almost $20 just to park the car that you had to bring. For those who don’t have perfect vision, we have to buy glasses or contacts, but it’s not like we chose to not see 20/20. As well, we have to pay for health insurance just to be able to stay in good health and survive any sickness or problems we might encounter. 

Health insurance is essential for everyone to have, but not everyone can afford it. People in poverty can not afford to pay the outrageous prices of health insurance and that causes them to have to deal with their problems which only causes more on top of that. I believe this society that America has created is relatable to Squid Game and that is why it has become so popular and risen to Number 1 on the charts for Netflix. 

Categories: featured, Opinions, Uncategorized, What to Watch

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