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Friday, December 1, 2023

The ‘M3GAN’ Dance Meme: Vicious Dolls Could Dominate 2023

The Monitor is a weekly column devoted to everything happening in the WIRED world of culture, from movies to memes, TV to Twitter.

You know what’s always been scary as hell? Dolls. (Watch an Annabelle movie and tell me this is a lie.) What’s even creepier than that? Dolls powered by artificial intelligence that can just up and get a mind of their own one day. If this sounds like the kind of thing that could rob you of sleep for years, then boy do we have something you need to see: the trailer for M3GAN.

But perhaps that trailer—which shows the movie’s namesake robot (her name short for “model-3 generative android”) become dangerously attached to her human companion Cady—is too haunting. If so, the internet is here for you. Almost immediately after the trailer dropped, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram exploded with mashups setting the doll’s dance moves to tracks by everyone from Beyoncé to Taylor Swift.

Fans also, rightfully, set M3GAN’s dance moves to songs by Megan Thee Stallion. (The most satisfying? Watching her gyrate to “Body.”) Megan herself also caught wind of the trailer. “Not being biased but I think they made this movie for me,” she tweeted, “I will be THEE FIRST in line to see M3GAN.” (Does this mean it’s too late to get her a cameo?)

Marketing departments dream of this kind of virality. Having your trailer turned into a meme is priceless for word of mouth, even when it strips a lot of the scariness out of your horror movie. It’s easy to imagine the filmmakers putting this scene in the trailer, and the movie, not-so-secretly hoping for this very thing to happen.

The memes also speak to people’s willingness to make the culture they want to see. Fans have been extremely thirsty for Swift’s new album Midnights, dropping today, and for some, mixing her music with a vicious dancing doll is just a way of dealing. Same goes for Beyoncé fans who are both celebrating her new album Renaissance and expressing frustration that she didn’t release videos to accompany it. Those combining M3GAN with RuPaul raps, meanwhile, just know how to have a good time.

In the week or so since the trailer dropped, it’s also spawned a series of knock-on memes on TikTok. Currently, posts tagged #m3gandance have more than 23 million views on the platform, and not all of these are reedits of the trailer. One of the most popular suggests M3GAN as a Halloween costume. Others feature their creators attempting to recreate her dance, like teens moving along to Encanto. Another breaks down a Twitter beef between M3GAN and the ultimate scary doll: Chucky from Child’s Play.

On Wednesday, M3GAN’s studio, Universal, moved the movie’s release date up by a week, to January 6. That means the movie has two months to collect even more memes and buzz. By the time fans see it, it may not even matter if the movie sucks. It will just matter if it’s got something they can dance to.

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