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The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

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Squid Game, Or Scripted Game?

Squid Game, Or Scripted Game?
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Take the fan-favorite Korean thriller series, Squid Game. Now make it a “game show,” script it, and give the contestants poor living conditions. You’re now watching the 2023 rendition of the show, Squid Game: The Challenge. Similar to the original edition, 456 players compete for $4.56 million dollars, eliminating the others (or being eliminated) along the way.

However, despite the prize pool being the largest in game show history, it feels forced, essentially marring the impact that Squid Game has on so many people.

This time around, there are new games and tests that have been introduced to the series that change the dynamic of the game, like Jack-in-the-Box and Battleship. 

Battleship replaced the ever-so anticipated Tug of War challenge, where players get randomly eliminated with no power to stop it, and no motive behind it. This luck-based method of elimination was not welcomed among fans and critics, saying that it insulted the nature of Squid Game.

More importantly, the script itself is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed as well. Post-game interviews and scripted timelines plague the entirety of the show. They lack any authenticity whatsoever since the players are already aware of the event’s outcomes, merely reading a script that correlates with their thoughts during the game.

According to a report from Rolling Stone, the show also violated many safety procedures and human ethics. This was shown in the opening game, “Red Light/Green Light”. 

What should have been a 5 minute game had players collapsing while trying to hold poses for up to 30 minutes at a time in a cold airport hangar, as production took the entire day. 

All of this mixed with the bland, unsubstantial food that was served created a less vibrant atmosphere among contestants. 

This makes for a less exciting experience for all, as players are often tired and annoyed with the little service that they have been given.

Similarly, this new series lacks depth as “stock characters” overrun the original purpose of a reality TV show. 

Instead of viewing people in their day-to-day lives, the show follows a format where stock characters such as jocks, nerds, cry-babies, and quiet people express conflicting ideas which creates subplots to the character dynamics themselves. 

When players are randomly eliminated it destroys the connection that the audience builds with that character, removing the idea of protagonists/antagonists as a whole. Not having a character that can be consistently followed makes the show lack depth. 

To rub salt into the wound, Mr.Beast, a famous YouTuber, made a video on a reality version of Squid Game released back in November 24, 2021. 

Mr.Beast encapsulates Squid Game: The Challenge’s 10+ hour run-time into a fast-paced, smoothly run 30 minutes. 

Even though his video doesn’t feature the level of cinematography of a reality TV series published on Netflix, with proper character development and unexpected twists (and without the human rights abuse), it still does a pretty good job at showing what Squid Game: The Challenge could have been.

All in all, from the fake blood to scripted scenes and dramatic characters, one could argue that this show is entertaining to watch because of these faults themselves. This show is “so bad that it’s good,” making it hard to stop watching as cliffhangers and random eliminations make you want closure that can only be found within the next episode. 

But overall, having an added budget with quality cinematography, sound design, and production by being a series published from Netflix definitely gives it some bonus points. 


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