5 reasons ‘Squid Game’ is dominating memes, streams and Halloween

Word: Whereas this piece avoids particular “Squid Sport” plot spoilers, it does give a normal overview of the story and its themes that might nonetheless be thought-about spoilers. 

The Korean survival drama that’s poised to grow to be Netflix’s most watched series of all time has unfold its tentacles into sneaker and tracksuit gross sales, WallStreetBets meme culture, crochet patterns on Etsy
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and South Korean politics. 

Should you’ve but to tune in, the sequence sees lots of of women and men on the point of monetary damage competing in a lethal battle royale for roughly $38 million in money. It’s bleak. It’s disturbing. And folks can’t get sufficient. About 95% of “Squid Sport’s” viewers have binged the present from exterior South Korea, Netflix
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says, and the sequence has been subtitled in 31 languages and dubbed in 13. 

The uniforms worn by the “Squid Sport” guards have grow to be iconic — and are common Halloween costumes.


Youngkyu Park/Netflix

The present truly broke the web in South Korea, main web service supplier SK Broadband to sue Netflix over the visitors surge stemming from “Squid Sport,” calling on Netflix to pay for the prices of the elevated community visitors and upkeep work. 

What’s extra: 

  • Google notes that search curiosity for converting Korean won to U.S. dollars has hit a document excessive within the U.S., as American viewers have regarded up the greenback equivalents of the received quantities shared within the present to higher perceive the stakes. 

  • “Squid Sport” is the most-Googled Halloween costume for 2021, with viewers additionally speeding to Amazon and Etsy in search of items to recreate the teal inexperienced tracksuits worn by the gamers, or the new pink guard uniforms. White slip-on Vans sneakers much like what the gamers put on on the present have seen a 7,800% spike in gross sales for the reason that present premiered on Sept. 22, according to Sole Supplier

  • And a candy honeycomb toffee referred to as dalgona featured in the show has become a global craze, Reuters stories. The Seoul dalgona maker who whipped up the deal with for “Squid Sport” was allotting lower than 200 items a day earlier than the present. Now he’s serving greater than 500 dalgona a day. And Google stories that searches for honeycomb toffee (dalgona candy) reached a document excessive this month within the U.S.

What’s curious is that each one of those colourful Halloween costumes and TikTok challenges and purchasing developments and amusing memes are being impressed by one of the crucial feel-bad reveals of the yr. 

So why is everybody obsessive about “Squid Sport” when it’s such a tough present to observe? Listed below are a couple of key causes. 

It faucets into the globe’s monetary ache proper now

“Squid Sport” sees women and men fighting scholar loans and medical debt, owing cash to mortgage sharks, or being exploited by their employers, who grow to be so determined that the enchantment of successful roughly $38 million in a single day outweighs the danger of bodily hurt and even demise. The present additionally condemns capitalism and wealth inequality — wealthy VIPs are those bankrolling the video games and watching human beings kill one another for sport. 

A few of it’s a little too actual, particularly for the house viewers. South Korea is in the grips of a debt crisis, and South Korean politicians have been trying to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the present to take digs at one another, or so as to add to their stump speeches. In reality, “Squid Sport” creator Hwang Dong-hyuk was famously so broke when he was writing the script that he had to sell his laptop at one point for $675

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“Squid Sport’s” hanging visuals are additionally a part of its enchantment.


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“In a method, ‘Squid Sport’ may be considered as a microcosm of our society,” Areum Jeong, assistant professor of humanities at Sichuan College-Pittsburgh Institute, informed MarketWatch. “Younger folks right this moment really feel discouraged and pessimistic concerning the unemployment fee and dealing circumstances. Whereas the older era have been acknowledged and rewarded for his or her arduous work, the youthful era right this moment tends to consider that your background and inheritance (moderately than arduous work) are extra necessary in attaining success.” 

And as economies throughout the globe have grappled with the fallout from pandemic lockdowns, and the toll the pandemic has taken in human lives, the get-rich-quick fantasy is as interesting as ever. “Within the age of social media influencers and YouTubers, it appears that evidently the standard thought of labor (going to work 9-5) is turning into devalued, and an increasing number of individuals are in search of (simpler and sooner) methods to herald cash,” mentioned Jeong. “In Korea, an increasing number of individuals are turning into obsessive about the inventory market and even Korean school college students are shopping for inventory these days.”  

The visuals and costume designs are hanging 

Teal inexperienced tracksuits with white numbers stitched on the entrance. Sizzling-pink hooded uniforms with black fencing masks stamped with triangles, circles and squares. An outsized robotic doll with a warning glint in her eye. The imagery of “Squid Sport” is price a thousand phrases — which is useful when the viewers doesn’t communicate the identical language. 

“This present is PACKED with imagery and symbols which might be simply recognizable but pretty easy to copy, such because the sq./circle/triangle shapes on the mysterious recruitment card, the present’s brand, the gamers’ tracksuits, and the masks and bright-red jumpsuit uniform the workers wears,” Madeleine Buckley, senior editor of the Pop Insider, informed MarketWatch. “This makes ‘Squid Sport’ excellent fodder for fan tributes, social media challenges, cosplay, and merchandise.” 

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“Squid Sport’s” hanging visuals are additionally a part of its enchantment.


Netflix

Certainly, a fast “Squid Sport” search on Etsy pulls up almost 8,000 listings, together with “Squid Sport”-inspired t-shirts, tumblers, crochet patterns, stickers, jewellery, masks and enterprise playing cards. An Amazon
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search pulls up dozens of “Squid Game” Halloween costumes.  

Whereas many of the “Squid Sport” merchandise popping up on Amazon and Etsy are unlicensed, Netflix’s on-line retailer does characteristic official “Squid Game” merch together with t-shirts and hoodies for $35 to $50. 

And naturally, there’s the memes and gifs, in addition to the TikTok challenges the place folks strive competing in a number of the video games featured on the present at dwelling. 

“Along with word-of-mouth, I’m positive quite a few folks grew to become all in favour of watching the present due to these eye-catching memes and TikTok challenges posted by ‘Squid Sport’s’ advertising and marketing staff and early viewers,” agreed Jeong. “And after these curious viewers watch the present, the hanging costumes, objects, and symbols all grow to be references that they now absolutely perceive and might take pleasure in on social media.”  

It’s using the Ok-Pop/Korean wave

“Squid Sport” hit as Korean tradition has been dominating the globe. More than 20 words of Korean origin were added to the Oxford English Dictionary in September, together with hallyu describing the elevated worldwide curiosity in South Korean leisure and tradition, aka the “Korean wave.” 

“The rise of Korean popular culture within the current decade, particularly with Ok-pop acts like BTS, Korean movies like ‘Parasite,’ and Korean TV dramas on Netflix, has actually helped the worldwide viewers grow to be all in favour of ‘Squid Sport,’” mentioned Jeong. “And lots of current Korean works that have been cherished by international audiences (‘Parasite,’ ‘Practice to Busan,’ Netflix’s ‘Candy Dwelling,’ and many others.) share a typical theme in questioning what humanity is, particularly how human dignity may be carried out or preserved in dystopian settings. A theme viewers might resonate with, particularly in the course of the pandemic.” 

‘Squid Sport’ is recent, regardless of being one other survival competitors 

Fictionalized, lethal actuality competitions have been performed earlier than, from Stephen King’s “Working Man” to the “Battle Royale” and “Starvation Video games” films. However “Squid Sport” brings its personal twists and turns. “Sure, we have now seen different media during which determined folks should compete for sources (whats up, ‘Starvation Video games’), however the absolute brutality of this present paired with the jarring, incongruous proven fact that these gamers are staking their lives on schoolyard video games actually pulls you in,” mentioned Buckley. “On prime of that, the present options so many mysteries and unknowns, which give followers a lot room to take a position and theorize as they watch.” 

Certainly, TikTok and YouTube movies puzzling out the clues and Easter eggs hidden in early “Squid Sport” movies encourage repeat viewings. 

Plus — and one other spoiler alert — the gamers compete in playground video games which might be acquainted to many viewers, and easy sufficient for, effectively, a toddler to grasp. “The childhood video games featured in ‘Squid Sport’ aren’t complicated in any respect. Even if you’re not Korean and haven’t performed [some of] these video games earlier than, the foundations are easy and really straightforward to grasp,” mentioned Jeong. “‘Squid Sport’s’ familiarity and simpleness make it straightforward for worldwide viewers of various backgrounds to grasp and benefit from the present, and take part in sharing common memes or TikTok challenges.” 

Buckley added that “Squid Sport’s” common enchantment additionally stems from the questions it asks about what makes us human, and what we’d do to outlive. “It faucets into a number of the most primal and common themes of being human: the desperation of wanting a greater life, being prepared to do something for the folks you’re keen on, and grappling with the ethical implications of decisions you make in essentially the most tough of circumstances,” she mentioned. “It doesn’t matter what language we communicate, all of those components make the present accessible and fascinating to viewers worldwide.”

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-reasons-squid-game-is-dominating-memes-streams-and-halloween-11633734080?rss=1&siteid=rss | 5 causes ‘Squid Sport’ is dominating memes, streams and Halloween

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