October 19, 2021
Melinda Head

Squid Game: What’s the Hype?

This runaway hit for Netflix is its most-watched series ever. Let's unpack the mystery behind this binge-worthy phenomenon

Described as one of the most bingeable shows ever, Squid Game premiered on Netflix on September 17th and in its first 28 days caught the eyeballs of 111 million viewers. Or did it? Well, 111 million people watched it for at least 2 minutes, not necessarily Americans.

Netflix is casting a global net designed to increase its presence in under-tapped markets, such as Asia, where 59% of the entire world’s population lives. 4.7 billion people live in Asia compared to only 333.5 million in the United States. With streaming services and YouTube as common as milk and bread, Dong-hyuk, the man behind Squid Game, says: “… now we have the infrastructure to go global in everything we make. I think now, if there’s good content, the global audience is just waiting to watch it. I think ‘Squid Game’ is proof that this is possible.”

Incredibly, the survival drama was rejected for a decade before Netflix picked it up. But, then and again, we all know there’s no such thing as overnight success; as they say, luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Originally described as “implausible”, “too grotesque” and “too violent”, Squid Game is now being described as “one of the most unique things you’ll watch this year”.

“I feel like I’ve become BTS. It’s as though I’ve created a Harry Potter or Star Wars franchise.” (Hwang Dong-hyuk, writer, producer and director of Squid Game)

Initially called ‘Round Six’, Squid Game has dazzling visuals and stunning brutality. Though not a true reality show, contestants (actors) facing financial struggles risk their lives participating in traditional South Korean children’s games during which many meet untimely, violent deaths attempting to win a $38 million cash prize. Some have described it as a coming together of Hunger Games and Kill Bill, others call it an illumination on the imbalances of capitalism.

Squid Game is a South Korean production. Most of us don’t know much about this far away Asian Country, so let me tell you a little bit about it, including some basic facts and a few quirky ones:

  • South Korea is surrounded by the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea and faces Japan, it’s southern neighbor

  • South Korea is roughly equivalent in size to the state of Indiana
  • North Korea and South Korea have been engaged in a civil war since 1950, with no peace treaty ever having been signed and a highly militarized zone separating the two countries. South Korea became a democracy in 1986 and today has the world’s 12th largest economy
  • Seoul is the capital city, where almost half of the population lives in just 12% of the Country’s geographic area
  • The population of South Korea is 51.6 million
  • South Korea has the highest density of robots in the world and the best connectivity. It has had 5G in place since 2019. Step outside of any city or town in the United States and good luck to you in finding 5G
  • South Koreans are highly educated and hard workers. The average South Korean works 55 hours per week, compared to 35 hours in the US – that’s a 36% difference
  • Strange as it may seem, Haesindang Park displays close to 50 penis statues, while Jeju Loveland has exhibits showcasing sexual organs and positions. Adultery is legal in South Korea and has been since 2015

  • Beards are frowned upon in South Korea, as is body hair of any type

In South Korea, body hair is considered to be disgusting. Ali Wong described her furless husband as being sexy AF: “It’s like having sex with a dolphin”, she joked.

  • Since there are no beards to trim, a growing number of South Korean men have chosen to wear cosmetics. They are the biggest male spenders on skincare globally. Additionally, about three-quarters of South Korean men have a beauty or grooming treatment at least once a week, which some say is driven by the desire to emulate the looks of South Korean male idols. South Korean companies routinely ask job applicants for photographs on their resumes – this practice is not illegal, as it is in the United States

Boy de Chanel deliberately launched its first ever male beauty line in South Korea, a market in which Chanel knew it would be successful

With everyone jumping on Squid Game, we weren’t surprised that SNL did its own Squid Game parody this past weekend:

It has been reported that Netflix spent $21.4 million on 9 episodes of Squid Game, or about $2.4 million per episode. Stranger Things cost Netflix $8 million per episode, and the Crown $10 million. Netflix, I say you did pretty well on this one, coming in at a fraction of the usual cost. You may not get that lucky next time, so enjoy the ride. It’s not over yet.

Now challenge yourself and your friends to our Squid Game Quiz of the Day, by downloading Quizefy from the app store if you haven’t already done so, then see how much you know and Strut Your Smart. Our Squid Game Quiz of the Day is only available today, then it disappears. We’ll be back again every Tuesday with a special blog posted at www.quizefy.com, along with a new trivia quiz on the same topic as the blog. Don’t forget to follow Quizefy in social media, so we can remind you of upcoming blog and quiz content.

Coming Up For Quizefy

Every day:  a new trivia Quiz of the Day on continuously changing topics. Available for 24 hours only

Every Tuesday:  our FACT-ory blog on www.quizefy.com, with a matching Quiz of the Day in our Quizefy app. Read our blog for hints that will improve your Quizefy score

Every Sunday:  the Week in Review, our comprehensive review of national and global events in the past 7 days. This would be a great addition to your Sunday routine

Always:  trivia questions on a myriad of topics that you can choose yourself
Tuesday, May 14th: Michael Cohen
Wednesday, May 15th: National Chocolate Chip Day
Thursday, May 16th: National Classic Movie Day
Friday, May 17th: International Drum Month
Saturday, May 18th: National Strawberry Month
Sunday, May 19th: Week in Review
Monday, May 20th: National Streaming Day
Click here to Download Quizefy
About the Author

A serial entrepreneur, Melinda is a sociologist and statistician who believes there is no currency with greater value than knowledge

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