On Tuesday, Netflix announced that in addition to a second season of squid gameit will produce a real-life competition based on the massively popular Korean series that will see contestants attempt to win the biggest cash prize in reality TV history.
Of course, no one will fight to the death in this version, but Squid game: the challenge will see 456 people compete to win $4.56 million by participating in games inspired by the series as well as new events over the course of 10 episodes. It’s not yet known when the show is expected to premiere, but it’s casting in progress English-speaking competitors from all over the world to film in “early 2023”.
But anyone who has actually watched squid game should understand that the deadly game at the center of it was never meant to be celebrated. The show sends a heartbreaking message about class, how the poor are exploited by the ultra-rich, and the desperate lengths people will go to try to escape a life of poverty. Participants on squid game were willing to degrade themselves, stab themselves in the back – sacrificing friends, allies and (spoiler alert) in one memorable case, a spouse – and of course risking their lives for a 1 in 456 chance of winning a life changing of the money, while anonymous wealthy VIPs watched them for their own entertainment. Even when we remove death from the equation, why is it something we would want to replicate in real life?
The truth is, while no one is shot by a giant doll, most reality shows are exploitative. Cast members are lured by the prospect of making huge sums of money – or, these days, earning their 15 minutes of fame on the show and then turning that into a lucrative career as as a social media influencer. They are often showered with gratuitous booze and given unflattering fixtures meant to stir up drama, and the effects can often be detrimental to their personal lives and sanity. As former MTV cast member Susie Meister The challengetold InsideHook, “They’re reduced to this really terrible version of themselves. And then they can’t find jobs or have good relationships, et cetera. creating something that a lot of people want to watch. That doesn’t always create a healthy environment for an actor.
That, of course, makes for entertaining television, and that’s why companies like MTV or Netflix – which, it should be noted, are desperate to rebound financially from massive first-quarter losses – continue to sacrifice dignity and good -mental being of the people they cast in their reality shows. Netflix wouldn’t give someone $4.56 million to win Squid game: the challenge unless they’re convinced they could earn a lot more than that by allowing all of us to anonymously ogle 456 desperate people fighting for money and attention. They know exactly what they are doing, and that has nothing to do with the message of squid game.
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