The massive international success of Squid Game has not gone unnoticed in North Korea, where propagandists say it reflects the "sad reality of a beastly South Korean society." A Tuesday article on a propaganda website argues that the show "gained popularity because it exposes the reality of South Korean capitalist culture," the Wall Street Journal reports. The show depicts South Koreans in financial trouble playing life-or-death children's games for a chance to win around $40 million. The North Korean website says it shows "a world where only money matters—a hell-like horror."
But North Koreans won't be able to see this "hell-like horror" for themselves, Reuters notes. Pyongyang has been cracking down hard on South Korean entertainment, with stiff fines or sentences of up to 15 years in a labor camp for anybody caught with media from south of the border. Squid Game director Hwang Dong-hyuk has said the show's depiction of the world's widening wealth gap is one many can relate to, and the show has definitely struck a chord with millions of viewers worldwide—Netflix says it is now its most-viewed original series.
According to internal Netflix estimates, Squid Game is on course to draw 111 million viewers in its first 28 days on the platform, smashing the record of 82 million set by Bridgerton after its launch last year, Deadline reports. Netflix says the show, which was dubbed into more than 30 languages, hit the No. 1 spot in 90 countries after its September release. (A phone number was edited out of the show after a South Korean woman received thousands of calls.)