James Bouhuys would like get some things straight: His wife did not make him sign a Funko Pops budgeting contract. Also, she exists, contrary to what the endless stream of Twitter trolls believe. Her name is Amanda, and the couple lives happily in a suburb of Boston with their 1,400 Funko collectibles.
James and Amanda, both 27, have known each other since grade school, they told me in an email. They got married in 2016. During a fit of late-night inspiration while on their honeymoon, James wrote up the “pop-tract,” a contract outlining in arduous detail how and on what occasions they could purchase Funko Pops—the small vinyl dolls made to look like caricatures of pop culture characters. Rolling Stone called them the "gateway drug for collectibles.”
No one wants to end a marriage by divvying up your toy collectibles on the floor of a courtroom. Not that they're planning on it—they're clearly made for each other.
The contract assigns budgets for each month, between $120-150 a month, and includes stipulations for special occasions when the budget can be broken, like Comic Cons and special conventions.
James posted the contract to a Funko Pops fan subreddit last year, where it got middling attention from other fans. A year later, the contract’s resurfaced on Twitter and gone viral, this time incurring the full wrath of the internet.
“I’ve had people telling me I should kill myself, that my wife isn’t real, that I have a mental disorder,” James told me. “Despite the negativity, I persevere. I make my choices to be positive and live a healthy lifestyle filled with Funko Pops, while they make their choices to berate others for decisions that don’t impact their lives. To each their own I suppose.”
Most of the coverage after that viral tweet assumed that Amanda wrote the contract as some kind of nagging wife nerdom trope. But she also collects Funko Pops, mostly Disney and animals. “When I see them I just can’t pass them up,” she told me. “I also enjoy the hunt of finding the ones that we need, especially when I find them before James can!”
A year into their marriage, the contract’s holding up “eh,” James said. Abiding by the contract required paying attention to monthly budget breakdowns. “For the first few months, I was writing everything down, noting it, and tallying how much I’ve spent. I was doing well and I was following the guidelines I set.” Pre-orders and buying for friends have derailed them a bit, but it’s nothing they’re going to split up over.
They’ve purged 500 dolls from the collection over the past year, and narrowed it to about 1,000 pops—including Disney, WWE, horror, and 90s-themed Funko Pops, with a few other themes thrown in. They told me that their collection is worth close to $37,000, according to the Pop Price Guide. James is careful to note that this isn’t how much they’ve spent on the dolls, just how much they’re worth now.
“Overall, the contract was made in an effort to slow down my purchases but also to get a good laugh,” James said. “It was made satirically. Some of the other posts and articles you’ll find on the internet have a lot of inaccurate information about this pop-tract and our collection, but you have the truth here.”