Squid Game has taken over the world with its striking visuals, compelling characters, and twisty-turny narrative. But just a nanometer beneath the thrills is a searing indictment of personal debt and the bottomless misery of life in a hyper-capitalist society. South Korea has become particularly known for this kind of commentary of late, with the other most notable example being 2020 Best Picture winner Parasite.
Now TMZ is reporting that the North Korean website Arirang Meari has reviewed the show, and they like what they’ve seen. The writer says that it “gained popularity because it exposes the reality of South Korean capitalist culture.” They’re right, though Squid Game isn’t at all subtle about this, and devotes the entirety of its second episode to showing how being forced to play homicidal children’s games is preferable to suffering under debt.
The article went on to say that the show accurately depicts the sharp end of placing people in fierce competition with one another, saying it proves that “living in a world where people are judged only by money is a hell-like horror”.
Sadly, North Koreans are extremely unlikely to be allowed to watch Squid Game anytime soon, as anyone caught watching South Korean TV can be issued with a strict fine or even prison. That doesn’t entirely stop a thriving black market in illicit bootlegs of popular shows though, and I’m sure Squid Game is indeed being watched north of the border – albeit in secret.
And hey, if official North Korean outlets are willing to openly praise the hit show for showing at length why capitalism is ruining people’s lives, maybe the censors will make an exception for Squid Game?