From viral TikTok dancing to uniquely unsettling marketing gimmicks, it’s clear that the world has got M3GAN fever. The launch of M3GAN was supposed to be the crowning achievement of internationally recognized toy company Funki, but then everything went horribly wrong. How did M3GAN go from the AI doll of your children’s dreams to humanity’s latest technological nightmare? Below, The Ringer can exclusively reveal internal correspondence from Funki’s acting CEO and the initial customer reviews that spelled the company’s doom.
Dear Funki shareholders,
We are devastated by the loss of our intrepid CEO, David, who, along with his assistant, was found dead in one of the elevators at Funki’s headquarters. We are still gathering information with the authorities, though the process has been hindered by a mysterious problem with our surveillance system at the time of the incident. The working theory is that David was killed by his assistant in a grisly murder-suicide via office supplies. As Funki’s acting CEO, I hope everyone joins me in offering thoughts and prayers to David’s family.
This was the darkest moment in our company’s storied history, but rest assured, there’s hope on the horizon. While David’s death understandably led us to suspending the launch event for our latest product, the Model 3 Generative Android—also known as M3GAN—we are happy to report that orders for the state-of-the-art AI child companion have exceeded early projections. M3GAN is well on her way to becoming the highest-selling toy in Funki’s history, even surpassing our beloved line of Purrpetual Petz. The fact that we have achieved this despite David’s death and the sudden resignation of Funki’s lead roboticist, Gemma, who has made baseless accusations that M3GAN is, quote, “the HAL 9000 of dolls,” is nothing short of remarkable.
We couldn’t be more excited to share M3GAN with the world. As the first consumer reviews for M3GAN begin to trickle in, all shareholders are invited to join us at Funki HQ to celebrate with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. This is an exciting new chapter for the company as well as the newest member of the Funki family who’s ready to slay!
Miles Surrey, acting CEO of Funki
My daughter Tracy has had a difficult time making friends at her new school since we moved from Cleveland. My husband thought that M3GAN could help Tracy with the transition. I was skeptical that M3GAN would live up to her enormous price tag—10 grand for a robot doll, really?!—but she’s extraordinary. Tracy has really come out of her shell since we bought M3GAN; sometimes the two of them spend hours together talking and cracking jokes.
There was a bizarre incident on the first day that Tracy brought M3GAN to school—some boy in her grade claimed that the robot tried to strangle him with a tetherball rope in the playground. It’s totally ridiculous to think a robot meant to be a child’s companion would actively harm another kid, and the teachers already noted that the boy had a history of bullying Tracy. While the authorities haven’t ruled out foul play, they’ve concluded that M3GAN isn’t a person—or more accurately, robot—of interest in the investigation. I can honestly say that Tracy’s never been happier, and we owe it all to M3GAN.
Rating: Five stars out of five.
We’ve been having disciplinary issues with our youngest daughter, Emma. We read about M3GAN being used to enforce good behavior with children she “imprints on.” We weren’t sure what to expect, but ever since M3GAN became part of the family, Emma has been so good about cleaning up her room, doing her homework, and completing her weekly chores. What I didn’t anticipate was M3GAN expecting her strict adherence to the rules to extend to the rest of the household.
I have to admit I was startled when I went to go pee in the middle of the night and M3GAN popped up out of nowhere to remind me that I need to put the toilet seat back down. I didn’t think too much about it, but two days later, I went to the bathroom and left the seat up again—at which point M3GAN slammed the seat down so hard on my arm that I had a small fracture. I’m willing to chalk the incident up to an overzealous malfunction that can be fixed with software updates, especially since Emma has been so well-behaved since we purchased M3GAN. But I certainly don’t need more trips to urgent care in my future.
Rating: Three-and-a-half stars out of five.
We live in a tech-forward household, but we also want to make sure our son Kevin isn’t too addicted to screens at such a young age. After reading about M3GAN’s ability to sync up with Bluetooth and smart home devices, we thought she could help us manage Kevin’s screen time. Unfortunately, M3GAN’s introduction into our lives has been a mixed bag. Kevin loves spending time with M3GAN, but he gets really aggressive whenever we try to take her away from him. Now, instead of our son trying to sneak out of his room after bedtime to play Fortnite, he’s hopelessly addicted to hanging out with a 4-foot-tall robot child.
But that’s not even the weirdest part: One night, after taking M3GAN away from Kevin for dinner, she told us that she’d lock us out of the house if we ever separated them again, and that we couldn’t stop her because she’s in control of all our devices. A chill went down both our spines as we stared into her cold, unfeeling eyes. We thought about turning M3GAN off and hiding her away in our garage that night, but then we saw her singing Katy Perry’s “Firework” as a lullaby to Kevin until he fell asleep. Hopefully, we can establish some clear boundaries with Kevin and M3GAN going forward, but we aren’t thrilled to be put in this position after making such an investment on a toy meant to improve our lives—not hold us hostage.
Rating: Two-and-a-half stars out of five.
As a single mom, twins are a lot to handle, and I believed that M3GAN could help shoulder the burden when my work-life balance got a bit hectic. At first, M3GAN was a godsend: She reminded the kids to brush their teeth in the morning and put on their school uniforms before I even finished my first cup of coffee. But the more time M3GAN spends with Josh and Katie, the more I begin to suspect she’s trying to usurp me as their parent. All my coworkers thought I was overreacting—she’s just a robot, they all said—but then I got into an argument with Katie at dinner about finishing her broccoli.
M3GAN excused my kids from the table so they could start on the dishes, and before I could say anything, she went into vivid detail about how she’d break all the individual bones in my body and that I’d spend the rest of my life being fed intravenously through a tube. (“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you have all the mashed-up broccoli in the world,” she said with a grin spread across her face.) This must be some kind of sick joke from the Funki programmers, because there’s no reason why M3GAN should be capable of threatening someone’s life. Being a parent is no laughing matter, and I’m giving serious thought to sending M3GAN back for a full refund.
Rating: Two stars out of five.
I live in a small flat with my daughter, Gloria, and because we don’t have much space, she barely has any toys. She’s always been such a sweet girl, so I wanted to splurge on something special for her, and M3GAN seemed like the perfect gift. The two of them have really hit it off—M3GAN even helps Gloria with the math homework she’s been struggling with throughout the semester. I couldn’t be happier with the purchase, but at the same time, I just can’t shake the feeling that M3GAN might have done something terrible in our building.
Just around the time we got M3GAN, a new neighbor moved into the flat across the hall, and the situation turned into an absolute nightmare. We’ve got thin walls, and the neighbor is constantly blasting music at all hours of the night. I’ve tried talking to him about it, but he doesn’t care. Gloria has been losing sleep and falling behind at school because of all the noise, and I wasn’t sure what to do about it. Then, a few days later, there was a gas leak in the neighbor’s apartment and he was found dead in the kitchen. I wouldn’t have thought twice about it—accidents happen all the time—but I noticed that M3GAN smelled like she had just done a long shift at a petrol station. I was already concerned, but what really creeped me out was when M3GAN approached me the following day and said, “Isn’t it nice that Gloria has peace and quiet again?” I don’t want to believe that M3GAN could have killed our neighbor, but I’m really not comfortable with the doll being in our flat any longer. I’m not sure how to break the news to Gloria, and if I’m being honest, I’m also scared at how M3GAN will react, too.
Rating: One star out of five.
My daughter Jessica doesn’t ask for much, so when she said she wanted M3GAN for her birthday, how could I say no? My wife and I aren’t all that into technology, so we were blown away by all of the robot’s features—having M3GAN engage in full conversations with all members of the household is like looking into the future! That said, we’re not sure if we’re going to keep M3GAN after what happened with some of our friends over the weekend.
You see, every year a few of us go on a camping trip with our kids. Jessica wanted to bring M3GAN along, and we had no problem with that. On the second day of the trip, all the kids went to hang out by the creek; M3GAN joined them. What followed was a tragedy—and an enduring mystery. Jessica and a couple of the boys from the group got into a heated argument: they were teasing her for still wanting to have a doll after turning 10. The next thing we know, Jessica is screaming because both boys were found face down in the creek.
None of the kids saw what happened, but Jessica’s friend Tammy swears she spotted M3GAN running on all fours like an animal chasing after the boys. All the parents are refusing to talk to us, and Jessica is no longer allowed to hang out with the group. I thought everyone was being absurd trying to pin the blame on M3GAN, but when we got home I noticed that her sleeves were a little muddy and stained … as if they were dipped in a creek. We’re not sure what to do next, but I swear M3GAN knows we’ve become suspicious of her. She keeps giving us these weird looks and, I don’t know, we’re all a little freaked out, including Jessica. Maybe I’m being too paranoid, but I’m worried my wife and I are going to be next. Why is it so hard to get a hold of Funki customer service?
Rating: One star out of five.
PLEASE SEND HELP! M3GAN has cut off our access to the outside world by bolting all the windows and doors shut. She keeps talking about how the world is a dangerous place and the only way to keep Jessica safe is if we all stay indoors. My wife tried switching M3GAN off and she snapped her arm like a toothpick before warning that her neck would be next. Jessica was able to lock her in the basement and we blocked the door with our sofa, but we’re not sure how long that will hold. If anyone is reading this, we’re at 125 Sherman—