YouTuber Jimmy Zhang’s challenge videos are frequently fitness-related; he chronicled how he got shredded using a workout inspired by the anime series One Punch Man, then shared his attempts to train like the Naruto character Rock Lee. In his most recent video, though, Zhang isn’t the one being challenged: instead, he’s putting other people to the test, in a real-life version of Squid Game.
The Korean drama series has become a huge hit on Netflix over the last couple of weeks. It follows lead character Gi-hun, who along with a host of other characters is offered the chance to be freed from his debts, if he can complete a series of simple games. The catch? If you fail to complete the task, you suffer an escalatingly painful fate.
Now, Zhang isn’t about to start offing people for the sake of YouTube content. We’re not at that point in our current dystopian narrative just yet. Instead, he travels to a college campus, populated by plenty of young people with debt, and offers them cold hard cash if they can win the envelope flip game from the show. If they win, he’ll give them $100. If they lose, they must submit to being slapped in the face.
It’s definitely more Jackass than Battle Royale, and it turns out a surprising number of students are willing to be slapped in exchange for some free cash.
Squid Game has inspired a number of viral challenges since dropping on Netflix, with another popular one involving the Dalgona cookie. TikTokkers have been learning how to make the Korean honeycomb treat at home, including stamping shapes into the mixture before it sets, in order to then attempt to snap the shape free without breaking it.
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues.
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