Move over Squid Game, another Korean series airing on Netflix is captivating the world — and without a single death or drop of blood (so far, anyway). Single’s Inferno is a dating reality TV show that has become massively popular, making it into Netflix’s top 10 most-watched shows globally.
The show brings nine attractive singles, four women and five men, to a tropical island (aka ‘the inferno’) to mingle and get to know each other. Contestants who match can escape the island and go to a high-end resort (aka ‘paradise’) for a romantic one-night getaway.
Six episodes of Single’s Inferno are currently streaming on Netflix, and the final two episodes of the show will drop on January 8.
Although Single’s Inferno is streaming on Netflix, a platform blocked in China, Chinese audiences have found ways to enjoy the hit show. On Weibo, a Chinese microblogging platform, the hashtag for the dating series (#单身即地狱#) has been viewed more than 600 million times.
“I binge-watched all six episodes [currently out], and I screamed during the final scene in the most recent episode,” wrote an enthusiastic viewer.
Another posted, “It’s excruciating that I have to wait till next week to watch the next episode.”
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Viewers in China have even given nicknames to the contestants. For example (spoiler alert), Moon Se-hoo’s journey in the show is far from smooth as he is rejected by his dream girl multiple times, forcing him to stay on the island and not go to ‘paradise’ with the other participants. Consequently, he is known as ‘the island’s owner’ (岛主) among Chinese netizens.
Moreover, Chinese audiences are particularly drawn to one of the contestants — YouTube influencer Song Ji-a. Specifically, many netizens are recreating her outfit, and some are even trying out her dumpling recipe, which she originally posted on YouTube. On January 5, the hashtag ‘Song Ji-a’s dumpling recipe is so delicious’ (#宋智雅同款宣传饺子太好吃了#) was trending on Weibo, accumulating more than 78 million views.
The contestants themselves have noticed their growing popularity in China: Choi Si-hun and Kim Hyeon-joong registered their accounts on Weibo after the show’s release. Song Ji-a also launched her account on Xiaohongshu, a Chinese lifestyle platform.
The fact that some participants created Chinese social media accounts to interact with the country’s followers is indicative of how attractive the Chinese market is to entertainers and influencers. Also, Single’s Inferno’s success in China is yet another example that — despite the Great Firewall — Chinese people enjoy shows from other countries and are not as culturally isolated as some people think.
Cover image: screengrab via Netflix
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