Mystery of the three seashells solved! Kinda

// // 93 Comments
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About a year ago, PoopReport tackled a question that has vexed moviegoers for years: how does one actually wipe their butt using the three seashells in Sylvester Stallone's Demolition Man?

Here's the background, as reported in PoopReport's Movie Poop-Scene Archive:

Entry #1: Sylvester Stallone plays a cop who is cryogenically frozen for some crime, then thawed out in the future to track down his nemesis, who has escaped. At one point Stallone goes for a crap and finds that they don't use toilet paper in the future. One smart-ass comments, "Maybe we should tell him what the seashells are for."

Entry #2: The previous poster forgot to mention that after the smart-ass's "three seashells" remark, Stallone gets in front of the credit fine machine and starts cussing, producing several fine credits because of violation of the verbal morality act. He uses these pieces of paper to relieve himself of trying to figure out the three seashells.

And here's a screenshot of the apparatus in question:

Despite the best efforts of the members of this site, we've found no reasonable answer to this question. But in an interview on Ain't It Cool News (question 9), Stallone himself shed some light on the issue:

Q: For the love of all that is good and Holy. How do you use the 3 seashells?!

A: OK, this may be bordering on the grotesque, but the way it was explained to me by the writer is you hold two seashells like chopsticks, pull gently and scrape what's left with the third. You asked for it... Be careful what you ask for, sorry.

There you hav-- hmm. I'm thinking about it. I'm using my imagination. I'm pantomiming it here in my desk chair. No... nope. I still don't get it.

And I'm not alone. Ignoring the bizarre physical contortions this would require, and the pain such scraping would engender, there are these concerns as outlined by an AICN commentator: "Aside from saving paper, what's the futuristic benefit? Who washes the seashells? If you don't get a perfect swipe the first time, what the hell do you do in your stall with feces-covered seashells?"

Indeed. The future is still a mystery. According to IMDB.com, story credit for Demolition Man go to Peter M. Lenkov and Robert Reneau, with Daniel Waters sharing screenplay credit. Some intrepid PoopReporter needs to track one of them down and ask them directly.

93 Comments on "Mystery of the three seashells solved! Kinda"

The Big Wiper's picture
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Seems like Stallone's explanation would work only if you had an octopus or a tapeworm up your ass! Gross is right!

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Nine Inch Log's picture
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Maybe they all have perfect poops. After all, in such an enlightened society there would be no million wipers or diareah, etc. Imagine, a world united by perfect, firm, nine inch logs. Ahh, to live in that day and age.

_______
Number One . . . I order you to take a number two.

Number One . . . I order you to take a number two.

Bilgepump's picture
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The 3 shells obviously represent the holy trinity, sans redundant morass. Bi-vernacularly, the image gluteous,post-fecal, remains 'twixt hither and over there someplace.

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

healthy 1's picture
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Maybee the combination of the seashells somehow disolves the poop instead of wiping it.
_______
Watch out for the deadly F4, though he's been gone since '53, he will be back.

"Two percent of the population think; three percent of the population think they think, and 95 percent of the population would rather die than think."

Fart Poopie's picture
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No, no, no. The shells are there to scare you shitless at the thought of having to wipe with them.
No poop, no wiping.

Why do you think everyone in that futuristic world was so uptight?

daphne's picture
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In that movie, meat was off limits. Maybe their poops WERE almost wipeless. A perfect poop would only constitute a single wipe, even with a seashell.

What I'm trying to wrap my mind around is the occasional 4th degree hemmorrhoid and clipping it by accident, because you know it would happen, even in a perfect society, just like biting the side of your mouth by accident.

Ouch.
_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

Thunderbox's picture
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There`s a genetically modified clam in each shell. The shitter places the clam shell by his soiled ring and the clam, which lives on feces, sucks the ring clean. A true symbiotic relationship - shitter gets a shiny clean ring, clam gets a 5 star meal.

The voice of sanity

The Big Wiper's picture
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Sci-fi writers can invent anything they want and not have to explain it, driving people crazy.

Mission accomplished in this case.

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Anomalous Coward's picture
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Bilgepump - "The 3 shells obviously represent the holy trinity, sans redundant morass. Bi-vernacularly, the image gluteous,post-fecal, remains 'twixt hither and over there someplace."
Whatdahell you say?? Sounds damn intellectual, but I'll be clamshelled if I can figure it out.

Bilgepump's picture
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Nothing more fun than getting folks to chase down a dictionary, only to discover that my post was utter gibberish....and getting a bonus point on top of it? Priceless!!!

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

PooperGal's picture
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Good to see that perplexing case brought up again. But I'm not buying Stallone's version.

My first guess, as a media and communications professional, was that the screenwriters gave absolutely no thought to the purported function of the clamshells -- they were just a vehicle for a witty "bumpkin from the past bungles his way in the future" gag.

But from a practical side, I'd say that they are buttons the toilet user pushes to operate mechanics within the toilet, probably under the back rim. One sprays water on the a-hole region to remove crap; one is specifically the "ladies'" cleanser to clean the female pee area and the third is to flush the crapper.


_______
PooperGal
"Searching for the Origin of the Feces"

PooperGal
"Searching for the Origin of the Feces"

ChiknGreez's picture
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I think PooperGal's explanation is the most practical! I also agree that the writers probably never really came up with an answer. It has always kind of bugged me, regardless of the fact that in the back of my mind I think, "There really is no answer." Humans are weird, how are we surviving? LOL

Dave's picture
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I +1'd you, Bilge. It sounded really smart to me, even though I didn't understand a word of it. You win at PoopReport!

jamie's picture
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well i tell ya, i worked in a papermill for a few yrs and after inhaling all that airborn tissue particle flyin around all day i barely ever had to wipe. saved a ton on happy wipes and hand soap. the shells where to hold the change outa my pockets for my early retirement.

Bilgepump's picture
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Ok, I've been pondering this for like, 17 hours, now and this is my theory:
Shells do cover buttons, it is a bidet/toilet combo.
Shell 1 activates a perfect vacuum seal between customer and "deposit box", and also activates the oh so gentle vacuum "coaxer" as I like to call it.

Shell 2 , upon completion of the evacuation cycle, dispenses, at a medium high, but not uncomfortable pressure, a finely perfumed shampoo/conditioner, to clean the area, and treat the hair involved, followed by a warm( 3 degrees above the sensed body temperature), gentle rinse.

Shell 3 then activates a gentle and again, slightly warm, dryer, not blowing directly at the orifice in question, but rather, creating a gentle swirling breeze you may associate with the old Candlestick Park in San Francisco, completing the dump cycle, and leaving the patron fresh and ready to face any defrosted cryogenic villian that may cross paths with said patron.

Mystery solved, and I am building one tomorrow.

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

daphne's picture
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After seeing previews for Rocky 6 or whatever it is, I hope one of those seashells is actually a translator. I couldn't understand a thing he was saying! Oh poor Sylvester.


_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

Anonymous Coward's picture
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Ok.. Any one who has been to Lyon France and stayed as the Square Hotel will see what they probably mean... They also had 3 Buttons/Shell looking things in the bathroom. its a 3 stream biday you use the seashells to activate the biday... this is just a guess but makes the most logical sense. It never said he picked them up.. and really if he could i could see Sly bring them out with him to ask what the heck they are for.

The Big Wiper's picture
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Speaking of Sly, has anyone noticed how bizarre he looks these days? Like Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, his face is pulled way too tight. He's obviously OD'ed on plastic surgery, and he had weird, lopsided looks even before that.

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

GottaGoGirl's picture
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RamBotox.

DungDaddy's picture
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Whatever the shells do, they cannot be picked up and used in the direct vicinity of the butt-hole, and then replaced on the shelf. Not sanitary. I would never use a shell that Stallone had put in his ass.

The Shit Volcano's picture
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I still think they're probably like some sort of ultrasonic blaster, sort of like a Sonicare toothbrush for your bung teeth.

Figuring this out would make for a great Poop Report contest!

_______
If a man farts and no one's around, does he make a sound?

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

The Big Wiper's picture
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The Rambotox link to Sly confirms that he is using the worst cosmetic surgery procedures. Including collagen in his lips. Man, does that look awful. Even worse on men than it looks on women.

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Anonymous Coward's picture
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I imagine that there would be a little warm water stream to prep your bum before the seashells. Likely the shells have a high silver content and are self cleaning.

Anonymous Coward's picture
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This would be a damn immposible feat to clean yourself with seashells since your eating at Taco Bell everyday, can we say messy. hahaha

Anonymous Coward's picture
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With Sheryl Crow's latest toilet paper proposals, three seashells may not be such a far fetched concept...

Anonymous Coward's picture
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i always assumed that they were covers from buttons like 'press seashell 1 to autowipe' :) maybe im thinking too far ahead :)

gross :-P's picture
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but are they resuable? and who'd want to if they are?

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points
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Well, there is a contingent of women (to which I do NOT belong, by the way) who use baby socks as reusable tampons so the reuseable toilet paper maybe isn't that far-fetched.

Anonymous googler's picture
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i did a random google on "three sea shells" and it brought me here, as the mystery behind them finally got to me and attempted to search for a decent answer.

what i wonder about is if Sylvy talking about the screenplay writer or the comic book writer.

but anyhoo..
i'm in support of the futuristic three shells / buttons with a combo toilet and bidet ("biday" from french, google or wiki it).. i've used one in korea and at least three while in japan. many times the seats have heat settings, and they've even got flush settings (for #1 and #2) to reduce water usage.

i'm guessing that the shells were perhaps a simple aesthetic design derived from the geo-cultural fact that San/Los Angeles is a port city, and just made it universal and/or utilitarian. or something like that.

about the vacuum.. sounds interesting, but i'm not sure if i'd like it if it were to malfunction. i think i'd be scared... well, you can finish that one.

Anonymous Coward's picture
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Funny I just watched the film and wondered if what I thought the Three shells was for was what I got from the description. Seems you may have missed the historical link.

The Romans used the stick and the moss to clean their butts, with constant flowing water - this aspect is similar to the bidet we use in Europe (and causes tourist from the States so much fun).

The concept is a constant running water bidet (see picture), first shell big jobies (rough), second shell remaining mass (semi-rough) last shell complete cleaning and apply perfume/oil (smooth).

Anyone agree?

Sum Youg Gui's picture
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I agree with the whole shells/buttons idea. I find it hard to believe that your meant to rip your As*hole to shreds using some washed up shell. You ever seen them things? They're brittle and they snap and I for one would not be cool will a broken shard of sea shell lodged in my anus. Maybe that is a fetish to some people but that is one way traffic ONLY for me, neither c*ck nor broken jagged shard shall pass. If I could have gangalf guarding my anus shouting "YOU SHALL NOT PASS" then i would but its a dream I must keep alive. And I get what people are saying about Stallone but have you seen that dude's mother? DAMN!!! Thats going to replace the whale in my nightmare's. I duno whether to sign her up for the freakshow or warn goats about crossing the bridge she lives under. I guess we will never know this one but we can guess all we like, it will be one of life's great mysteries like who built the pyramids, why does that midget in my book club keep stealing my ideas and what is the differance between dust and fluff?

wonderpance's picture
Comment Quality Moderatork 500+ points
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while the shell-button idea is a good one, unfortunately, there is a fatal flaw to this hypothesis. i haven't seen the movie in a while (but less than a year, cuz mr. pance wants to watch it anytime he catches it on tv) but i clearly recall seeing Sly pick up the shells and examine them. so, no buttons.

i agree with whoever said that the writers didn't think it through completely, or considered the fact that people would wonder about it when they saw it. writers can be so inconsiderate sometimes!
_______
i love poop.

i love poop.

Yui Kumiko's picture
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perhaps someone should do research on seashells and their textures??

lol

**Warning** Continued research even through all eternity and the eons in between, no matter the galaxy or dimension the research may subsequently occur in, shall not make Kumiko use a friekin' seashell on either side.

'nuff said, peace

Seashell Coward's picture
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Ginsu took over production of the third seashell shortly after Simon was defrosted...it was searated...

Hanus Anus's picture
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Track down Lenkov and Reneau, and make them demonstrate. Shoot video, and post it here. ;D
_______
Happy crapping! (_o_)

Happy crapping! (_o_)

John the Anonymous Coward's picture
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The three sea shells don't work. It's a joke. Like in Calvin and Hobbes: the Noodle Incident. It never happened. We don't know what the Noodle Incident was because it never happened; Hobbes brings it up, Calvin denies he did it...and it never occurred in a comic strip. We are just left to wonder. Same with the three sea shells.

Anonymous Coward's picture
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I've always wondered about that too. I found a site with visuals LOL

http://www.i-mockery.com/shorts/three-seashells/default.php

Anonymous Coward's picture
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I got an idea. Under the shells lay TP, WetWipes and a sort of Butt Mint... They are dispenser covers. Simple Easy Futurey. Does this mean that Sly never shat durring the time of the film? Or did he just shit his pants all the time and tell the other cops it's because he had Mexican just before they froze him and the rethaw side effects are uncontrolable poopage.

poodoovoodoo's picture
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The 3 sea shells are actually buttons. The 1st shell flushes the toilet, the second shoots laser precision water streams that totally clean your backside and the 3rd shell drys you.

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points
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Actually, the shells don't work if pressed one at a time; such ease of operation might lead to accidents (water spewing all over the bathroom, user getting sucked down the drain if the seat's not down, etc.). Thus, numbering the shells 1, 2, and 3 from back to front, you press 1 and 2 for the wipe (fine but quite hard jets of warm water that find the anus by means of an electric eye). Press 1 and 3 for the deodorant spray, quite fine and wafty. Press 2 and 3 for the air-dry. Then stand up to view your results and press all three shells for the flush. Stand back to avoid the mighty FWOOSH! of water. Be aware that the electric eye for the anus wash is not the only one in the cubicle. If you have any problems with that bowel movement--from diarrhea to hemorrhoids--you can expect a call from the Medical Service within the hour.

Anonymous Coward's picture
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I wasn't aware that so many people had even seen this movie. *lol*

Anonymous Coward's picture
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Just noticed this, I think you should all look at the coat of arms logo of the University of Reading in the UK. http://www.rdg.ac.uk/
Needs to be fairly decent size logo to see what I'm talking about...

Loaf_pincher's picture
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Had this argument with a friend and did a google search. I'm glad to see that so many other people have been plagued by this question.

I've seen the movie several times over the years and have never seen any clues to this in the dialogue what-so-ever. If there's an intended explanation behind the three shells, then the writer's did a bad job by assuming everyone would understand the joke. I certainly don't get it, and it's bugged me since I first saw the movie as a kid.

Cydonos's picture
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It's simple: Seashell 1 disintegrates the fecal matter using force field technology, seashell 2 heat-sanitizes, seashell 3 deodorizes. Just wave each one across your messy ass (in the correct order, for the love of god!)

Mrs. Mad Crapper's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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as I was reading ole Sly's comment I thought of his garbled voice trying to explain it. Habandn fansnd mamidns Adrian!
_______
Oops I did it again, I shit when I fart, I crapped in my pants.

Earth, insane asylum for the universe.

Ag 2011's picture
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according to john the anonymous coward, it sounds like we've got a schrodinger's cat theory on our hands.

Anonymous Coward's picture
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They talked about this on some dvd commentary I heard a few years ago. The shells are actually buttons, pressing the first shell removes surface level poo from the ass, pressing the second shell washes your ass skin and pressing the final shell sanitizes and dries the ass. It's all built into the toilet itself and the entire room is self sanitizing. Also the shells detect how you touch them, so you feel like you are in control of the sensations your ass is experiencing, instead of being defiled by a robot.

The only other thing they said about it on the commentary was that besides the three sea shells nothing else had changed with the plumbing or basic mechanics of the bathrooms in the future.

Oh, and it wasn't the Demolition Man commentary, it was for some other cheesy movie, one of the writers of that movie worked on Demolition Man as one of their first jobs.

El Scumbag's picture
k 500+ points
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Not many people know this, but I have it on good authority that there was a section of the story deleted from the film, after the happy ending when Sly and Bullock kiss and he asks her about the sea shells.

She tells him that the shells are hinged and if he lifts the edges there will be labelled buttons underneath which will make it self-explanatory.

Sly sits down, empties his arse noisily and lifts up the first shell. Sure enough there is a button labelled "WW". He presses it and a jet of warm water squirts against his beshitted hoop, washing away the detritus in a very pleasant manner. He lifts the second shell and the button is labelled "WA". He presses it and a blast of warm air dries his anus very pleasantly. Under the next shell is a button labelled "ATR" which he presses, and the scene then cuts to 3 days later when Sly wakes up in a hospital bed, with Sandra beside him looking very apologetic.
"How are you feeling John Spartan?" she croaks. "What do you remember?"
"Duh...I'm not sure...I feel numb from the waist down..." he replies. "I remember pressing the WW button and it washed my butt with warm water, then the WA button, and I got warm air..."
"Then you pressed ATR?" she enquired, horrified. "John Sparton, did nobody tell you that the toilets in the 21st century are unisex?"
"Er...no..."
"ATR stands for Automatic Tampon Removal. By the way, your penis is in the jar next to your bed."

I think on the bog too's picture
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The most sanitary solution would obviously not include using the shells to manually remove excreta from anywhere, esp from sensitive bits of ones anatomy, that "pinching the roid" comment gave me leg cramps!!!

So, that said, the "buttons to control the perfect bidet" theory?

Hell yes!! We'd be more regular if that was available but we're all pretty full of it... or we would be if the thing malfunctioned and sprayed contentents of bowel upwards instead of flushing away before commencing with the bidet function.

eeeeew!!!

Filecabi's picture
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I think the shells are used to scrape the remains out of your underpants