One of the problems with still being caught up in some of the habits developed during a pandemic is you find yourself sitting in your living room late one night binge-watching “Squid Game” on Netflix.
The issue isn’t the lateness of the hour. The great thing about being retired is that the time you want to get up in the next morning is kind of a moving target. One key principle late in life is that the coffee is going to be ready whenever you decide to make it.
Nor is the problem that you are wasting all those late hours simply watching television. If you’re watching “Squid Game,” after all, you’re helping make small-screen history.
“‘Squid Game’ is taking over the United States,” reported the website bloomberg.com. “According to a Morning Consult survey, roughly a quarter of Americans have seen the Korean-language Netflix drama, putting it on track to become the streaming service’s most-watched original series of all time.”
No, the frightening thing about finding yourself watching “Squid Game” is what it says about us.
As I sat there on the couch, I couldn’t help wondering why I was so interested in binge-watching images of violence and greed and other demonstrations of man’s inhumanity to man.
What is ‘Squid Game’?
The new show’s official page at netflix.com describes the plot in a couple of sentences.
“Hundreds of cash-strapped players accept a strange invitation to compete in children’s games,” it says, and here we must issue a slight spoiler alert. “Inside, a tempting prize awaits,” the description continues, “with deadly high stakes.”
To avoid telling you too much that you won’t learn rather quickly if you watch the show, let’s just say that if you lose a “Squid Game,” you really, really lose. In these kid games, there is no going home and crying to momma.
This is not a new concept, of course. And online review notes that “Squid Game” is “basically another version of ‘Battle Royale,’ ‘Lord of the Flies,’ or ‘The Hunger Games.'”
The latter found substantial success in multiple films, and we studied “Lord of the Flies” in literature classes. Both goodness and evil lurk inside of us, I seem to recall from those lessons.
So, there apparently is much to learn about ourselves from watching “Squid Game,” I suppose.
I’m just not sure I should want to know it.
Yet I kept watching. Why?
Enjoyed quick rise in popularity
I’m not the only viewer, by far.
Citing the publication Variety as a source, a Yahoo entertainment report traced the hasty rise of “Squid Game” to the top of television rankings.
“Netflix released Squid Game in the U.S. on Sept. 17. The series ‘entered the Top 10 on Sept. 19 at No. 8, climbed to No. 2 the next day, and was at No. 1 by its fourth day of availability on Sept. 21,'” the report said.
And this is a show made in South Korea, so it is shown with subtitles in the United States. The distraction apparently didn’t make many viewers tune out or turn away.
I’d like to think that many of us continue to watch “Squid Game” because it is a well-made series.
For every user review that says “people wonder why they are so depressed,” several more praise it in such terms as “a true social commentary on humanity, competition and avarice.”
As viewers of “Squid Game” quickly learn, however, everything you get in life comes with a price.
I suspect that many who watch the show may never play a children’s game with their grandchildren again without going to bed that night and dreaming a nightmare.
Reach Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @gbrownREP
Read More:Watch ‘Squid Game’ … or look away?