I started to feel frankly excluded, suddenly I watched “Squid Game”

Welcome in Anaïs watches TV. The principle of this weekly column is simple: its author is called Anaïs Bordages and sometimes she watches TV.

I’m not going to lie to you: lately, Netflix has mostly become the platform for stuff I watch tipsy at 3am instead of going to sleep. Even if I still occasionally find excellent series there, like the recent Midnight Sermons, it is now for me a place of comfort and idleness, where I know that I can go without thinking too much. And then sometimes, it’s the place where I find myself a little in spite of myself.

Because once every full moon night, the platform manages to release a program that just becomes inevitable. A series that no one had anticipated, and that, overnight, as if by magic, everyone seems to have seen, digested, and turned into memes. This was already the case in 2019 for The Art of Storage with Marie Kondo, which I personally hold responsible for the disappearance of my favorite pair of shoes. In fact it turns out that if they brought me happiness, Marie!

This was also the case a year ago with The Lady’s Game, who turned millions of us into poor man’s Garry Kasparov. There was also Bridgerton, and for once I resisted – I still don’t know what this is about (except sex and pretty dresses) and I don’t feel the need at all.

The phenomenon therefore reoccurred last week (for me, anyway), with Squid Game, a Korean series about a killing game between desperate citizens – not a reality TV show with people cooking octopus, as I had previously imagined.

Me when I imagine a reality TV game where octopuses are locked together in a house and have to get to know each other.

The saddest thing in all of this?

Like almost all of the platform’s biggest hits, the series, which officially released on Netflix on September 17, kicked off quietly … before taking the world by storm. Articles, memes, TikTok videos, challenges, overloaded bandwidth and even pop-up shops: in recent days, the series has become as inevitable as yeast infection in a sauna. The problem is that right now, I really don’t want to watch scenes of repeated killings: it’s raining, it’s cold, the world is falling apart, and this story has already been told a hundred times. , whether in Battle Royale, Hunger Games, Cube, Escape Game and so on.

But after seeing a growing number of memes on Twitter, I was starting to feel downright left out – and if I wanted to feel left out, I would stand in line at the Berghain, thank you. At the end of the fifteenth weird TikTok on a giant, super creepy waddling doll, I started to falter. And then, on Saturday evening, my mother wrote me the following text: “I’m going to start a series … Squid Game is it good?”, followed by the small emoji with a monocle. There, I knew that it was necessary to act. I, a series journalist, could not find out Squid Game after MY MOTHER.

In order to be last on all trends, I went straight to see the Arc de Triomphe packed by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, a few hours before the installation was dismantled. On the way back, I listened Donda *, and then I ordered a pizza, and gave in to the ultimate popular pressure: I launched the famous squid series.

* It’s wrong, I still haven’t listened Donda. **

** In fact I just listened to it, it’s not bad.

When after half an hour of viewing, dozens of people began to be violently massacred during a game of “1, 2, 3, sun”, I admit that my pizza started to turn me off a bit. But quickly, I got caught up in the game. Because you have to admit that it’s well written, well staged, and well embodied (by very beautiful people, that helps). And because, in the same way that the characters in the show would rather kill each other than return to their debts and their lives of misery, I would rather watch fictional characters kill each other than live in my own – because I do. reminds us, it’s raining, the extreme right is popular, the ice floes are melting and EVEN WhatsApp is no longer there to save us.

Deep down, I don’t know what is saddest:

  • that I let Netflix’s social media and marketing convince me to watch a series that I had never heard of three days earlier and whose concept I wasn’t interested in
  • that I turn to a streaming platform to seek a feeling of communion
  • that, when the hero of the series is anesthetized by a gas that puts him to sleep, I immediately said to myself “wow he’s too lucky”. (But I assure you, it’s okay. When’s the holidays already?)

This guy is too lucky because he is not currently reading yet another article on Eric Zemmour.

Consumption without reflection

Finally, I have nothing to reproach the series itself, which seems rather well put together, quite addictive, and which manages to give a slight twist to all the works of the genre mentioned above.

I just have a hard time dealing with the fact that I am entertained by watching people butcher themselves by choice, and above all, I have even more difficulty with the idea that a series with such dark and violent subject can be. so quickly meme-ified, to the point that Netflix launched a pop-up store based on the series’ murderous trials. I already dread the inevitable Halloween costumes inspired by the torturers of the game.

What I also find unfortunate is that in this increasingly frequent media-cultural cycle, certain series (sometimes good, sometimes mediocre) seem to succeed in capturing all attention, to the detriment of certain works whose marketing plan has perhaps not been so well scaffolded, or which are too dense to benefit from the fashion of binge-watching – which unfortunately too often consists of consuming without taking the time to think.

I think about The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime Video), perhaps the most breathtaking series of the year across the board, yet completely snubbed by the Emmys. She was nominated in the categories of best limited series and best achievement in a mini-series. Do you know who won in these two categories? The Lady’s Game.