With Squid Game emerging (at least according to Netflix) as the streaming hit of the year, everyone should be braced for all the ham-handed Korean dystopia TV show parodies sure to come. Thankfully, Saturday Night Live got both inventively musical and strange with its take on the series’ deceptively cheery and colorful mini-games of death this week, with host Rami Malek joining Pete Davidson in pulling on the numbered jumpsuits and playing super-creepy children’s contests.
The strange part (apart from all the giant dolls and hidden gun emplacements) comes from the bit starting out like any garden variety country song, with Davidson and Malek’s country crooners bemoaning their hardships. (Malek sings about having to even sell off his adorable puppy, to give an indication of how dire things have gotten.) When the scene shifts to them participating in said Squid Game for the dangled promise of a plastic ball filled with cash, it’s honestly no weirder than what we glimpse of what the show is actually about. (Pieced-together spoilers ahead, but think Black Mirror crossed with Double Dare.) As the two continue to sing about their progress through the game (and the bloody not-progress of their competitors), the music and the action occasionally freeze, as Malek and Davidson’s immediately terrified competitors await their fate.
Does this make any sense if viewers haven’t watched Squid Game? Like, when the giant robot girl playing red light/green light starts picking off people? Or when those masked guards with what look like Playstation symbols on their faces seemingly execute someone for breaking a cookie? And what’s with that crazy lady with the knife (played by Melissa Villaseñor) right behind Malek? And the single egg? Look, just watch Squid Game and it’ll all fit together just fine (probably), but this is some impressively mounted comic strangeness anyway.