Is Squid Game The Challenge Scripted or Real?

Since the second that ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ became an official reality, fans of ‘Squid Game‘ have been excited to see how the non-fiction version of the series plays out. Of course, there are some highly important distinctions in which the reality show differs from its dramatic inspiration, like the obvious lack of murders. However, that does not mean that the drama and intrigue that the players use are any less intense, given the considerable amount of money that the contestants stand to win.

That said, the public cannot help but be skeptical about just how legitimate the reality show itself might be. There are certainly some contestants and events that make one wonder about the truth of it all, especially given just how things turned out in the Korean series. So, is it really any wonder that we ourselves are ready to dissect the show and find the truth?

Squid Game: The Challenge May Not Be Completely Unscripted

Given the hype surrounding ‘Squid Game: The Challenge,’ everyone has been eager to find out any case of possible foul play that might be afoot. For the most part, the show feels unscripted, and there are indeed some signs indicating how the unpredictable nature of the game can take out even those who you might think already have it in the bag. That said, it is hard to ignore the evidence that indicates not all that we see is true to real life.

Image Credit: Pete Dadds/Netflix

The first instance that we would like to explore is the very first game of the show Red Light Green Light. After this particular task was produced in season 1, claims emerged that the showrunners had highly neglected the safety of the contestants while shooting the challenge, given the extremely cold weather at the time. One of the UK-based contestants, Marlene, revealed to Variety that a certain level of deception was involved during the game.

Apparently, the show’s very first game did not finish in only 5 minutes, as stated in the show. The players were apparently told that they would have to hold their paused poses for about 2 minutes, which certainly would have added to the time. They were also told that the production would last for about a couple of hours. However, Marlene claimed that she counted that the wait time in one instance lasted about 26 minutes. Another participant shared that the game’s production actually went on for close to seven hours, something that they were seemingly not warned about.

Given the already dark implications surrounding the concept of the competition that ‘Squid Game’ itself introduced, such production conditions certainly did not help the reputation of ‘Squid Game: The Challenge.’ However, the showrunners shared their own statement about the situation. “We care deeply about the health of our cast and crew and the quality of this show. Any suggestion that the competition is rigged or claims of serious harm to players are simply untrue,” they stated. “We’ve taken all the appropriate safety precautions, including aftercare for contestants – and an independent adjudicator is overseeing each game to ensure it’s fair to everyone.”

Even if one remains unaware of the off-camera accusations that the show has been facing, there are instances within the show itself that might not be exactly a wholly unscripted affair. The one that stands out the most is perhaps the sheer naivety showcased by the season 1 cast members prior to the introduction of the fourth game called Marbles. Even a casual ‘Squid Game’ viewer is unlikely to forget the plot twist that came when players were asked to pair upon their own and then were pitted against their chosen partners. After all, the heartbreaking turn of events led to the elimination of many beloved characters.

To our great surprise, when the ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ season 1 contestants were also asked to form pairs, they seemed to have simply forgotten this crucial piece of information from the show that started it all. There is ample evidence to suggest prior to that point that the participants have indeed watched the show. From licking their Dalgona candies right away in the second game to getting prepared for Tug of War as Game 3, it is obvious that the contestants know how the Korean show unfolded.

So, when the contestants were told to pair up as a part of a “treat” before the fourth game, it is hard to believe they simply forgot that the upcoming game might be Marbles. There were indeed some pairs for whom the task was likely harder than the rest. However, it feels hard to empathize given the massive case of amnesia that the case members seemingly went through and were then shocked. Either way, such an instance certainly shook the trust of the viewers about the unscripted nature of the series.

Moving on, we have to talk about the one person whose participation in season 1 seemed like a massive case of a not-so-hidden easter egg. Yes, we are indeed talking about Dr. Rick, AKA Player 232. Not only is he established as the oldest participant early on, but he is also shown forming a very close connection with Stephen, AKA Player 243. Yes, we are pointing out the fact that Rick might be a huge reference to Oh Il-nam from ‘Squid Game.’

Not unlike Il-nam, Rick played a crucial role in helping his team win the third game. His friendship with Stephen starts feeling like a father-son bond, and they are part of a larger group called the Gganbu gang. Throughout season 1, Rick was the only person who was singled out by the showmakers specifically for a chore. One might mention Kyle (101) and Dani (134), who were also asked to do a secret task, but they were certainly not called to a specific place and likely were chosen as the only two people in the chore room.

So many similarities between Il-nam and Rick seems like a far-fetched case of coincidence. In fact, had Stephen and Rick not been eliminated during the Second Dormitoty Elimination Task before the game of Marbles, we might have been able to see a real-life replication of the heart-touching moment between Seong Gi-hun and Oh Il-nam. Overall, this does seem like another case of careful planning.

But, are the ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ results based on a script? The answer to that does seem like a no. There is a certain unpredictability to the elimination process that one cannot help. The frontrunners have found themselves getting evicted due to how the events unfolded, and many of those who remained on the sidelines emerged as strong contenders. In other words, it feels like the showrunners might have decided to add certain staged elements to the show in order to make the series more palatable to the fanbase of the ‘Squid Game’ franchise. While it is indeed hard to claim that the show is rigged in one person’s favor, it also seems evident that not everything we get to see is a result of a natural turn of events.

Read More: Why is the Blood Not Red in Squid Game: The Challenge?