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Roisin Gorman’s Open Letter... on Squid Game

The scary outfits from the show have become the most searched for Halloween costumes online and on eBay’


Critics of Squid Game obviously haven’t binge-watched The Hunger Games trilogy.

Critics of Squid Game obviously haven’t binge-watched The Hunger Games trilogy.

Critics of Squid Game obviously haven’t binge-watched The Hunger Games trilogy.

I haven’t seen this much fuss about seafood since Iceland introduced its prawn ring. The Netflix series Squid Game has been blamed for causing playground Armageddon as kids everywhere engage in hand-to-hand combat in a hopscotch to the death. At least they’re getting out in the fresh air. The story of desperate debt-ridden adults playing children’s games in a corpse-strewn contest in which only one will win a massive cash prize has led to an outbreak of pearl-clutching. Apparently, the mix of innocence and bloodshed is a hail of bullets too far. The reaction could only be more hysterical if Bake Off contestants were bumped off for bad fairy cakes and there was blood on the Magimix. The basic ingredients of any dire warnings written about the Korean series are that they should include the opinion of someone who hasn’t watched it, predict society getting a taxi to hell, and include the phrase ‘children as young as six.’ Preferably the critics will not have encountered The Hunger Games film and books trilogy in which people also take part in a contest to the death, but they’re all kids. It’s much more wholesome. In just a few weeks since its release, Squid Game has become the number one show on Netflix by a mile with an audience of 130 million, and it is predicted it will earn the streaming service $900 million from a series which cost $21 million to make. The rain and fake blood budgets alone must have eaten up at least half of that. The costumes from the game have also become the most searched for Halloween get-ups online and peaked at number one on eBay’s top 10 scary outfits. That’s how we’ll find out tonight who lets their kids watch it. They’ll be the ones cowering in terror at a murderous guard’s statement boiler suit. I watched it because I’m tired of being left behind on TV events. Thank Walter and Stringer everyone has stopped going on about Breaking Bad and The Wire, and hands up, I still haven’t watched The Crown — although that might change when they get to Prince Andrew. K-drama, like K-pop and K-beauty is a huge cultural influence and this time I’m at the front of the queue, with 130 million other people. If I had a spare six-year-old lying about they wouldn’t be watching it, but I also bought Grand Theft Auto for my son long before his 18th birthday so I’m not doling out parenting lectures. It was on the understanding he would set up a feminist women’s poetry collective for any sex workers featured in the game. I’m sure he did. If you don’t like liberal amounts of blood spatter — I can’t do the Saw films and remain traumatised by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre — this is not the series for you, but in terms of ludicrous plotting, last week’s Coronation Street sinkhole with extra escaped convict was worse. There are dead bodies, quite a few of them, but there are also themes of family, friendship, betrayal, loyalty, dementia, the evils of gambling, the experience of immigrants and outsiders, desperation, and so much rain it’s like Donegal in summer. It’s also a statement on socio-economic inequality in Korea, which has the highest household debt in Asia. I discovered that while trying to find out if the boiler suits are red or pink. I like to ask the big questions.

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