Photo of contestants in Netflix's Squid Game: The Challenge. They are wearing the same green uniforms as the contestants from the drama show of the same name.

Netflix’s Latest Capitalist Nightmare Now Has a Trailer

Perfectly normal fans of Squid Game never wanted a reality TV spinoff to happen. Yet here we are, as the new trailer for Squid Game: The Challenge just dropped.

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As we’ve talked about before, this is an exceptionally bad idea in so many ways. Squid Game: The Challenge, launching November 22 of this year, is a Netflix-produced reality TV show based on the original series, which pits real contestants against each other for a chance at $4.56 million.

The original series was not this. Squid Game‘s ultimate messaging is anti-capitalist to its core. It is criticizing the concept of pitting the debt-strapped poor against each other in deathmatches. The games themselves are an allegory for how State death operates: Poor people aren’t taken care of by their government and left to die in the streets or fight each other for scraps.

It’s not the first time someone has deeply misunderstood the show’s core messaging. Famous Youtuber MrBeast ran his own reenactment of Squid Game a few years ago. MrBeast is the exact type of person the drama series loathes. He’s an obscenely rich “philanthropist” who exploits vulnerable people for his own financial gain. I can’t say I’m too surprised that he’d also use poverty deathmatches as inspiration for YouTube profiteering.

He’s not alone. Equally problematic reenactments have popped up around the world. As The Independent reports, Abu Dhabi also hosted its own real-life version of the show. Obviously, nobody dies in these imitations, but they’re distasteful all the same.

This has been the case for a variety of politically conscious media. The Hunger Games series has become entirely commodified through rampant merchandising and weird Subway ads that missed the point. Multiple companies have tried to cash in on sexualizing The Handmaid’s Tale. The original Japanese Battle Royale movie and manga have now become a multi-billion dollar video games industry in the form of Fortnite and PUBG. Both Battle Royale and Hunger Games challenge authority and class struggle as concepts. These messages were lost in marketing and recuperation.

Squid Game: The Challenge is distasteful because it is exploiting people desperate to improve their financial situation. But their need apparently makes for good television, according to these execs.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson (he/they) writes about media criticism, race studies, intersectional feminism, and left-wing politics. He has been working with digital media and writing about pop culture since 2014. He enjoys video games, movies, and TV, and often gets into playful arguments with friends over Shonen anime and RPGs. He has experience writing for The Mary Sue,, Bunny Ears, Static Media, and The Crimson White. His Twitter can be found here: