A contestant during the honeycomb candy challenge in Squid Game: The Challenge

‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Has a Winner, but Were the Results Predetermined?

Netflix’s Squid Game-inspired reality show, Squid Game: The Challenge, aired its season 1 finale recently and declared its first winner. However, the finale has been met with accusations that the show is scripted and rigged.

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These accusations are just the latest in a string of controversies surrounding the game show. From the onset, the show was met with protest for embracing the very ideals that the original show denounced. Then, reports arose that several players had to seek medical treatment after playing the games in freezing conditions. The injuries contestants sustained from filming Red Light Green Light for hours in the cold have led to threats of a lawsuit against Netflix. Other stories have arisen about the terrible conditions on set, with contestants being locked in windowless shared living quarters between games without basic necessities like lip moisturizer.

One recurring accusation against Squid Game: The Challenge is that it isn’t wholly a reality show. When people watch reality shows or game shows, it’s with the expectancy that they’re watching real life play out, at least to some degree. However, many of these reality shows are scripted or at least heavily influenced by the producers and editors in order to make them more dramatic and entertaining. Scripting reality shows is controversial because it raises concern over how accurately these shows are labeled and advertised and what viewers can trust. When it comes to reality game shows, scripting is even more problematic because it doesn’t just impact honesty and accuracy but also fairness.

With a prize of $4.56 million on the line in Squid Game: The Challenge, every player should have equal odds of winning, but any kind of scripting, predetermination, or rigging could threaten that fairness and equality.

Is Squid Game: The Challenge scripted or rigged?

Squid Game: The Challenge. Episode 110 of Squid Game: The Challenge. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Netflix, as well as Squid Game: The Challenge‘s producers, have denied that the show is scripted or rigged. However, the producers have admitted that there were some minor fictionalized and manipulated moments. Producer Stephen Lambert admitted that viewers wanted the show “to be quite like the scripted show.” Hence, there were edits to control, for example, how the Red Light Green Light scenes looked in the final product, and some acted-out scenes with the guards, who worked with choreographers and were used to communicate with the contestants. Producer Toni Ireland explained to EW that contestants were told they could “act out” their eliminations in big ways if they wanted to but weren’t directed to do so.

Meanwhile, Netflix responded to accusations of the show being rigged or “fixed,” stating, “Any suggestion that the competition is rigged or claims of serious harm to players are simply untrue.” However, this statement, combined with the producers’ explanation of how filming worked, hasn’t dispelled the allegations that the show is rigged. Multiple contestants have accused the show of being fixed, including Player 432 (Bryton Constantin), who claimed that he broke his honeycomb during the Dalgona candy challenge but was allowed to continue instead of being eliminated. Contestants also told Rolling Stone that the show was rigged to favor contestants who were social media influencers and allow them to proceed further in the show regardless of the game results.

The finale reignited accusations of rigging due to how the two finalists were chosen. The three last players were each told to choose a button, and if one’s button went red, that person was eliminated. It is made to seem like it’s completely random who chooses each button, but some viewers questioned if the producers controlled the buttons and simply picked which player they wanted to be eliminated.

For now, there isn’t any definitive proof that Squid Game: The Challenge was scripted or rigged. However, Netflix’s denial doesn’t necessarily disprove the allegations. The streamer also denied forgoing safety on set, even though the numerous accounts of filming for hours in freezing conditions suggest otherwise.

(featured image: Netflx)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.