Squid game’s streak on Netflix’s Top Spot lasts for 24 Days


Growing up, every child played games. Whether you made games up in your head like playing house to cure your boredom, or you went out with your neighbors to play tag or four square, friendly and competitive games were a part of everybody’s childhood. What were to happen if there came a time, far from your youth years, that these games weren’t just for bragging rights or for pride? What if life as-you-know it could change all for the better? Even if that success came at great risks, would you risk it?
Squid Game challenges the viewer’s perspectives on how far they would go to win enough money to completely change their lives, including risking their own life. The show’s many layers are really eye-opening in its character development. The show blurs the lines between black and white when it comes to seeing the good and bad in people. There is no such thing as only a Hero and a Villian, as only perfect or flawed because everyone is both good and bad, and everyone is Human.
The main protagonist, Seong Gi-Hun, competes not only for enough money to settle his debt and create a better life for his family, but he also competes for his life.
The typical protagonists of a Netflix series tend to follow a fairly similar template from show to show, but Squid Game is different. The standard lead character would be considered the perfect character, there would be little to no character flaws because most shows typically tell a story from that character’s point of view. We, as viewers, also tend to not see as many layers develop in the protagonist due to the perspectives already illustrated in the show. In a show that is normally told from the perspective of the protagonist, the viewer is always in the know, therefore we don’t have the wow factor of seeing things as they develop. Squid game is different because, although it takes us alongside the protagonist’s journey, we are not viewing the events through his perspective.
Seong, the main protagonist, is a dead-beat dad to his only daughter and a disappointment to his mother and to himself. His family and all who surround him are suffering because of the person he is. He has a severe gambling addiction, and yet, he has the biggest heart. Many addicts spew the phrase “I’m gonna stop” or “I’ll get better” with no true intentions. As Seong finds himself trapped in life and realizes the harm he has caused because of his addiction, we realize he really does want to change. The problem is, he’s too lost to find a way out on his own.
Enter the Squid Game.
When faced with the high-stakes challenges of these traditional Korean childhood games, Seong fights only to win, at first. He strategizes everything purely for the prize money. Later on, however, the audience will notice that Seong plays to keep his new-found friends safe and alive at all costs. Even once he has a true shot at the prize, he risks giving that all up twice to save his friends, even when he knows they wouldn’t do the same.
The first episode reveals how these competitors are chosen. It appears that the game commissioners purposefully choose desperate, low-life citizens of Korea. The nature of the games that they play targets an audience full of desperation as these types of people would be the only ones willing enough- and ignorant enough- to play with the mindset that the reward outweighs the risk. Every person that entered the arena had the mindset that they would win, without hesitation or doubt that they would win because of the arrogance and the degree of desperation. They needed to win. So they were going to win.
Every single person thought that they were going to be the one to make it out alive out of the 456 contestants.
This show’s popularity stems from the conversations that can be built around it. The characters diversify the screen with so many different personality types and struggles.
Viewers have different favorite characters they root for. For some that character changes every episode for each of the nine episodes in its single season released in September of 2021. I found overlap and familiarity in the story line of certain competitors and myself when dissecting my reasoning behind the connection I felt with these characters. The events of the characters’ plot may have not come close to my own personal experiences, but the thoughts, feelings, and actions of both the characters and myself can be found to be very similar to each other. The ways that Seong overcame adversity felt very familiar to me when facing challenges.
With so many twists and turns, this series ranks as a must watch and it deserves an overall score of five out of five stars on the Cochran Scale of Excellence in a Netflix Television Drama Series for it’s amazing storytelling and intelligent narrative.
If you like The Hunger Games, Escape Room, or Divergent, this series is right up your alley. Although classified as a drama series, the show contains a lot of action and mystery and can be fulfilling for a diverse audience. This has proven to be the case as it was Netflix’s number one media piece for 24 days and continues to be on their top ten list.