'Squid Game'—find out why the world can't escape its tentacle grasp

Netflix's newest phenomenon: Squid Game

"Squid Game" is the mega hit Korean thriller about playground antics and violent deaths that's blowing up on Netflix. Heard of it? I'm sure you have. And even if you haven't, odds are you've seen memes of it floating around the internet.

This disturbing, gruesome, funny and nostalgic streaming sensation has ignited a ton of online buzz, not least of which being the lawsuit brought to Netflix by a South Korean internet provider over an astronomical surge in traffic. The show has even generated some halloween costume ideas with which to traumatize the neighborhood. And, perhaps most terrifying of all, there's viral "Squid doll" sightings.

So what exactly is "Squid Game"? The show centers around people facing financial ruin, who are given the "opportunity" to make the equivalent of $39 million American dollars. All they need to do is win a series of simple, childlike challenges. The only catch is, if they lose, they die.

Without giving too much away, this is what makes the show truly scary: that people already in dire situations are targeted for their desperation, and pit against one another in meaningless, downright silly "games," and yet beating out the opponent really is a matter of life or death. "Squid Game" in essence is about the "contests" we agree to as part of competition culture and how it forces us to quite literally risk our lives for the sake of money.

This is what we love about the horror genre. It takes actual societal nightmares, like the hopelessness and utter unfairness of wealth disparity, and turns them into glaring metaphors that no matter how hard you try, you just can't look away from. Korean cinema simply has America beat in this territory. We see this not only in "Squid Game," but in the multi award-winning "Parasite," another Korean film that explores similar themes. Their relatable-rather-than-attractive-but-otherwise-dim characters, gripping and relevant story concepts and blending of comedic dialogue with horrific imagery brings audiences into a visceral and emotionally impactful experience in a way the American formula just can't. Or won't.

"Squid Game" takes things one step further than "Parasite." Rather than one singular film, the show offers multiple episodes full of intense cliffhangers, daring viewers to make just one more click. That, and the added intoxicating appeal of recruiting friends to join in on the shared disturbance, is partially why it has become more of a word-of-mouth phenomenon than its film predecessor. After all, what could be more fun than saying to a loved one, "This gave me nightmares. Watch it and tell me what you think."

The show debuted on Sept. 17, and is already about to beat "Bridgerton" as Netflix's biggest original series of all time. That's right, not even the almighty Shonda Rhimes can outswim "Squid Game." Which completely backs my theory that people will choose stories about dystopian murder games over frilly romance any day. Now if only we could find a way to combine the genres. Jane Austen Meets Battle Royale, anyone?

The show is so popular, in fact, that there has been a real-life victim of the Squid Game. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Settle down. No one has died (yet). There is, however, a man getting barraged with up to 4,000 unwanted phone calls a day.

For context: In the first episode of "Squid Game," a mysterious man gives mysterious business cards with a mysterious phone number on it. (Did I mention this show is mysterious?)

People began calling the number out of curiosity, only to find out that it belonged to a real person. The man on the receiving end of the phone calls had not yet seen "Squid Game," and thought he was being pranked. The good news is, he might make a large sum of money off of it, as a Korean politician is offering $85,000 to purchase the number for himself. This man with the seemingly unlucky phone number might get a fortune overnight. Pretty aligned with the show's central themes, if you ask me.

With so much amazing press surrounding it, you'd think we'd be seeing headlines about a season 2. Well, so far there are no plans for that. Regardless, "Squid Game" is a perfect example of what surprises can happen by adding story diversity into our streaming platforms. Clearly, people want shows that are hard-hitting, exciting and make the world seem a little larger, even if the world also feels a bit horrifying.

Watch it, if you dare. But be warned, you might never look at "red light, green light" quite the same way again.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement


We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.


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