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Photo credit: Everyday Health Photo of Hernandez (dressed in all black) at The Watcha! Film Series in honor of Women’s History Month.

SAN ANTONIO- The new Korean drama “Squid Game” commentary on capitalism goes beyond just the show’s content.

The South Korean drama “Squid Game” surprised everyone and spread like fire across the United States, becoming the top show on Netflix, just dropping to number two on October 22nd by the Netflix original YOU’s second season.

The show became famous for the A-list celebrities, art motifs, and, most predominantly, the critique of capitalism itself.  It is not the first show to do this; however, it is the first show that the creation and the content both had the same commentary on capitalism.

For a long time, no producer wanted “Squid Game.” The creator Hwang Dong-hyuk came up with the idea of the show more than a decade ago. He had told the Korean publication Cine21 that he had the original idea in 2008 and wrote it in 2009. When he would pitch the series, potential investors recoiled at the violence, and what they felt was an unbelievable idea, he told the Wall Street Journal. They just didn’t believe that people would face almost certain death to compete for the chance to win a significant amount of money.

However, creator Hwang knew himself that the concept was not so implausible.  When he created the series, he lived with his grandmother and mother and was so desperate for money at one point that Hwang had to sell the same laptop he was writing the script on to get by.  Hwang had the firsthand experience of the desperation as his debt-holding characters who agreed to play the game, guaranteeing almost certain death.

What Hwang Dong-Hyuk needed was the world to catch up to his ideas.  Luckily for him, in the year 2020-2021, that is precisely what the world did. Class consciousness and income inequality have become a polarizing and primary political debate over the past couple of years. The COVID-19 pandemic only makes the canyon more apparent, separating those who have and those who don’t. 

Netflix finally commissioned the series to be made about two years ago, with no way to know that it would be arriving in a future time where the themes would be very appropriate and relatable for the times being had.  Luckily for Hwang, “Squid Game” was made known to the world at an ideal time when people were ready and able to connect with the show’s themes of structural economic insecurity.

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