Squid Game, the Korean survival drama where poor people competed in deadly games for the entertainment of rich capitalists, is getting a ... reality series from Netflix. The streaming service announced a casting call for Squid Game: The Challenge, and seems blissfully unaware of the deep irony.
“Squid Game took the world by storm with Director Hwang’s captivating story and iconic imagery. We’re grateful for his support as we turn the fictional world into reality in this massive competition and social experiment,” said Brandon Riegg, Netflix VP of unscripted and documentary series, in a news release. “Fans of the drama series are in for a fascinating and unpredictable journey as our 456 real world contestants navigate the biggest competition series ever, full of tension and twists, with the biggest ever cash prize at the end.”
Well, isn’t that nice! Not sure who watched Squid Game and thought, “Wow, I wish this was real,” but sure, now you too can compete against others for a lot of money. Granted, the games aren’t a fight to the death — the casting call notes “in this game the worst fate is going home empty-handed.” But the existence of a Squid Game reality show is especially ironic, given the original series is meant to be a damning critique of capitalism.
This, of course, is just another example of the way entertainment gets monetized, despite these deep ironies. Back when The Hunger Games movies were coming out, so much of the marketing focused on the cool action sequences and the love triangle (not to mention the unsettling radio remix of the folk song that the rebels use as their rallying cry). Never mind that the point of the games was to keep the working people suppressed, keep the ruling class placated in entertainment, and numb any sort of rebellion — at least we know if we’re Team Peeta or Team Gale!
There is no release date for the Squid Game reality show; season 2 of the drama series was officially announced on Sunday.