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Tea Leaves

Vietnam's 'Squid Game' comedies entertain, but to what end?

Copycat fad shows how a single hit cultural product can shape public imagination

A screenshot of "Squid Game Parody," a Vietnamese show on YouTube that satirizes the Netflix original.

I heard a commentator say the world is split into two: those who've seen "Squid Game"' and those who haven't. Here in Vietnam, many have fallen into the grip of the South Korean show's dystopian tentacles -- including two creators of "Squid Game" parodies on YouTube channels that have adapted the hallmarks of the megahit series: the uniforms, the games, the income inequality.

The remakes by Thien An and Vo Tan Phat have drawn as many as 10 million views an episode, as well as some criticisms that they copied other creators. But who gets the credit here is less interesting than the question of what these "Squid Game" parodies and other stories bring to the table.

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