The commercial for “PurrPetual Petz” is obviously intended to be an in-universe artifact, yet director Gerard Johnstone and writer Akela Cooper throw subtlety out the window with the fake commercial immediately. Right off the bat, the commercial is where we learn that the fictional toy company in the film is named “Funki,” which is both a riff on the real-life popular collectibles manufacturer “Funko” as well as a play on the word “funky,” as used to mean something that smells off.
And something is quite definitely off about the PurrPetual Petz. They appear to be an unholy combination of two decidedly odd real-life toy crazes from the late ’90s: the Furby, a Mogwai-like creature who was programmed to react to their owners and “grow” by learning whatever language their owners spoke, and the Tamagotchi, a digital pet who must be observed and cared for a la an organic pet. The PurrPetual Petz certainly look demented, even borderline demonic, foreshadowing M3GAN’s uncanny valley-esque death stare.
Cooper gives the Petz a decidedly 21st-century spin, however: they’re controlled and maintained from an iPad-like device (one that’s also manufactured by, you guessed it, Funki), where kids can buy all sorts of accessories and outfits for their Petz through any number of microtransactions. There’s also a very literal side effect for all that potential excess: if the Petz are overfed, they “poop” little pellets everywhere. Nothing says fun like feces!