Note: This article includes spoilers for Squid game.
“Why are all my friends suddenly talking about Squid game? “you might be wondering. It’s not just you; although the show was released worldwide on September 17th, according to Google trends, interest rose sharply on the first weekend of October. Obviously you don’t want to miss it, so you’ll probably be watching it, but is it something you can watch with your kids or have while they’re in the living room? Here’s what parents need to know about the Korean hit.
Squid game is absolutely not for children
Don’t let the fancy title fool you. Nor the fact that traditional children’s games occupy an important place everywhere. (More on this topic in a minute.)
With a TV-MA rating and Common sense media Recommending it to viewers 16 and older, the Korean-language drama is tense, bloody, disturbing and ultra-violent. Additionally, the themes of gambling addiction, greed, complex family dynamics, and the nature of contemporary entertainment and capitalism are not something that your child will be terribly interested in anyway.
Beyond this point are spoilers so the TL; DR – very bloody and disturbing and certainly not for children. For more details, including the first episode “Red Light, Green Light” (which gives you a good idea of what’s going on), read on …
Squid game This is how far the highly indebted people will go
Seong Gi-Hun, the main character of the series, has a gambling problem. It has compromised his marriage (he is three years from a divorce) and his relationship with his daughter and elderly mother. Gi-Hun doesn’t hesitate to steal money to feed his addiction … and that money slips through his fingers almost as soon as he gets his hands on it. When his debtors catch up with him, they give him an ultimatum: If he doesn’t pay back the 160 million yen he owes within a month, they will take a kidney, then an eye. He signs this deal with his own blood – as you can see, we haven’t even hit the main premise of the show yet and it certainly isn’t for kids already.
Desperate, Gi-Hun agrees to participate in a game, along with 455 other cash-strapped people. The only thing one of them knows is that there is a big payoff (45.6 billion yen or about 38 million dollars) … and once they start to play, they can no longer stop.
The games are based on schoolyard favorites … with a bloody twist
Take, for example, the game’s first challenge. Competitors are led into a huge arena, painted to look like an open field. A robotic girl stands in the distance, with whom they will play Red Light, Green Light. The rules are simple: when the robot says “green light”, it can run towards it. By the time she turns and says “red light” they must be freezing. Anyone who moves will be eliminated and everyone must cross the line where they are within five minutes.
But “knocked out” doesn’t mean “go sit on the sidelines and try harder next time”. It means “to be shot with real bullets from real pistols placed in the walls of the arena”.
There follows a bloody slaughter of people rushing for the exits as soon as they realize what’s going on, followed by a somewhat less bloody slaughter of terrified people who accidentally move after the doll says “red light” and concluded, finally, with a somewhat bloodier slaughter of terrified people who did not cross the line in time.
So you know. This is what we are dealing with. Basically the Hunger games, but well, much bloodier, what if Katniss lived in our world and had no idea what was going on before. (At least everyone here is an adult #SilverLining?)
Things only get more horrible
As you can imagine, given the premise of Game 1, things aren’t improving for our competition. The gore and high voltage just keep going or intensifying. That’s the main issue when it comes to young viewers, but aside from the bloody violence, there are also some disturbing themes along with sex and occasional salty language. (Speaking of which, you can watch the show in Korean with subtitles, or dubbed in English, German, Spanish, or French.)
But … if you are an adult (or even an older teenager) and are ok with stressful TV, violence and blood: 10/10 would recommend. This is great, and millions of viewers are finding out why. In fact, according to FlixPatrol, it is currently the Show n ° 1 in 82 of the 83 countries where it is available. And Halloween costumes inspired by the show are already selling fast.