A reflection on modern society: the Squid Game Case

Squid Game, a television series produced by Netflix, talks about characters and worlds completely different from the well-known North American context.   

The origins of success 

Why is Squid Game such a successful TV series? 

First of all, Squid game’s production took more time than the average series (to be more precise, ten years between its drafting and its actual production). Moreover, it gives a lot of points of reflection for the contemporary world. Let’s see them together!

  • Critique of Capitalism 

Squid Game examines the modern capitalist society, which is characterized by a social inequality between rich and poor people, through the metaphor of the game. The whole story is based on the “survival mechanism”, which is the reflection of a world focused on money and power, where those who do not make it are left on the “roadside”.

  • A game for kids

The audience is catapulted into a particular social microcosm and can feel a constant cognitive dissonance because of the contrast between childhood items (like the use of vivid and primary colors, the jumpsuits or the atmosphere) and pictures, or scenes increasingly violent and insane. 

  • A near past 

Squid Game represents a type of video game (see the use of primary geometric forms also used in PlayStation controllers) and it is a “Game of the powerful” that hides a clear reference to the biggest political regimes of the past. The players are completely homologated, with no names (they are identified by a number) and they are also segregated in a place where, at the beginning, they thought they could find freedom. This place is under the control of a masquerade elite that, without any sort of humanity, challenges the players with an unreachable jackpot, which is attractive to death.

  • God of money 

In a representation – which is similar to the experiment in Zimbardo’s Stanford prison– the influence of “God of Money” on the characters’ lives is completely clear: in fact, they start to play because they do not have money, they kill for having more and at the end the player who wins is the one who keeps distance from money and plays as a child, in a human and creative way.

Beyond Squid Game…

Of course now, the question is: does Squid Game show a real picture of the world we live in? How much is reality and how much is exaggeration? Are we truly aware of what we are going to embrace? 

Translation: Francesca Camilla Perra

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