“Squid Game: The Challenge” is an offshoot of Netflix’s 2021 Emmy Award-winning show. The reviews, however, point out the irony of its exploitative format.
“Squid Game: The Challenge”, a spin-off reality show of the 2021 Emmy Award-winning K-drama is dropping on Netflix on Wednesday. The first reviews claim that while the new installment makes for ‘gripping’ reality television, it may defeat the anti-capitalistic messaging of the original show.
‘Gripping’ reality TV
“The game show uses the language of modern reality television to realize, in its own strange way, the themes in Dong-hyuk’s parable of capitalism grinding human beings into dust. That reality television itself is an artifact of late-stage capitalism only underscores the point,” states the review of Vulture, also refuting the criticism that “Squid Game: The Challenge” is ‘exploitative.’
The review by The Guardian, however, acknowledges the exploitative nature of the show, but insists it makes for irresistible reality TV viewing. “It was reasonable to assume that “Squid Game: The Challenge” would be a cash-in, a cynical by-product of the original’s success that would miss the point entirely, and perhaps it does. But as a gameshow, as the spectacle it sets out to be, it is very hard to look away,” the review says.
Death by irony
Some reviews weren’t too kind to the tone and approach of Squid Game: The Challenge. The Hollywood Reporter says Netflix’s cash-in isn’t ‘pretty.’ “Squid Game: The Challenge” does not exist in a vacuum.
It exists to cash in on one of the streamer’s biggest-ever hits, the 2021 South Korean scripted drama Squid Game. In that context, it looks not like a one-off curiosity but like a brand extension that fundamentally misunderstands what the brand was meant to represent in the first place,” says the review.
IGN echoes a similar thought through its review, “Especially since any criticism about how The Challenge simulates the violence depicted in Squid Game can be brushed off with ‘it’s all just fun and games,’ there’s no real incentive to consider some of the show’s negative connotations. But therein lies the problem, as it’s impossible to completely separate its elaborate sets and green jumpsuits from the world they originated in.”