Bong Joon-ho’s savage Oscar-winning satire offers plenty of helpful insights into how the wealthy can avoid being preyed on by the less fortunate
Warning: contains spoilers
Now that Parasite is everywhere, sweeping the Oscars and cleaning up at the box office, perhaps it’s time to stop and think about the film itself. Parasite is a fable about economic equality, which means there are many lessons that we as a society should take from it.
And when I say “we”, I obviously mean “rich people”. Extremely wealthy people like you and me have plenty to learn from Parasite. In fact, Parasite pretty much doubles as a blueprint of everything you shouldn’t do if, like us, you enjoy a life of preposterous material privilege. I can’t speak for the rest of you millionaires, but here’s what I took from the film.
Obviously, this article is going to feature a ton of spoilers. It should only be read by those who have seen Parasite and are also richer than their wildest dreams.
Lesson one: Always double check your references
This is by far the most important point. Insulated by their wealth and connections, the Park family accept member after member of the Kim family into their home based on nothing more solid than a badly photoshopped college degree. This, clearly, was a grave error. When you find yourself in a position of hiring private staff, always remember to follow up on references. Make the phone calls. Check the universities. Sniff the certificate. Does it carry the traditional cigarette and body odour smell of a downtown PC Bang? Speaking of which …
Lesson two: Trust your nose
Park Dong-ik came so close to discovering the scam at the heart of Parasite, by understanding that poor people ultimately smell much worse than rich people. The problem he had was that he didn’t ever follow up on it. Time and time again, his suspicions were raised by the stench of his impoverished driver, but time and time again he failed to act on it. Should you ever encounter a person who smells as if they don’t cross an arbitrary earnings threshold, do the right thing and jettison them from your life.
Lesson three: Boil your own water
You know when Parasite could have been over? When Park Chung-sook calls home after her family holiday ends in disaster. Her call, you’ll remember, was made to instruct her staff to make her a bowl of instant noodles. But had she not done that – had she possessed the vigour of mind to boil her own water and cook her own noodles – then she would have caught the Kims lolling around in her house and banished them for good. The lesson here is to always remain humble enough to boil your own water. But nothing more complicated than that, because that’s why you have staff.
Lesson four: Purchase smaller tables
The Park’s living room table is so gigantic that an entire family of interlopers could comfortably hide beneath it for an entire night, right under their noses. If you, like them, splash your cash on impractically large furnishings that could provide cover for intruders, then, frankly, you’re asking for trouble. You can buy Perspex coffee tables now. Why not just do that instead, you idiot?
Lesson five: Where possible, only buy apartments
Ultimately, would Parasite have happened if that had been any other house? No, of course not. Namgoong Hyeonja’s home might have been a masterpiece of architecture, but it also had an underground bunker where an entire family could secretly live. Always, always, when buying a house, check the floor plan to see if there’s any way a poor family could hide inside the cavities. Or, better yet, just buy an apartment. Or a bungalow. Or live in a hut. Or a tent. Bingo, you’ve just saved yourself a murder.