How to use the restroom in the 2032 presented by Demolition Man has haunted filmgoers since the seashells were presented — so how do the Three Seashells work? in Demolition Man, Stallone plays John Spartan, a tough, rule-breaking cop who is framed for a crime and cryogenically frozen for 40 years. Spartan is awakened in the year 2032 in San Angeles and tasked with stopping his old enemy Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes) who wreaks havoc in the peaceful and crime-free utopia. In addition to having all the action sequences and special effects of a typical blockbuster, Demolition Man also features a surprisingly witty script and fun sci-fi ideas, including the mystery of the three seashells.


While not as popular as Stallone’s Rocky and Rambo movies, Demolition Man is still a well-regarded entry in Stallone’s filmography. The film’s utopian version of 2032 reveals a world where everybody gets along and war is a thing of the past, while substances like cigarettes and alcohol have been banned. Another curious change is the total removal of toilet paper, which has been replaced with the Demolition Man seashells. Spartan understandably finds the concept utterly confusing, which isn’t helped by the fact that no one successfully explains to him how the 3 seashells work.

The Three Seashells Are A Gross World-Building Mechanism

Sylvester Stallone is topless in Demolition Man

In the years since the film’s release, many have speculated as to how the seashells actually work. Much likes Demolition Man‘s contactless high five, it was a bit of fun world-building that wasn’t fully explained. Though Demolition Man screenwriter Daniel Waters was protective of the truth behind the Demolition Man seashells, Stallone himself revealed how they work in a 2006 interview (via Ain’t It Cool News). He explained that a writer told him “…you hold two seashells like chopsticks, pull gently and scrape what’s left with the third.” It’s hard to say if such a technique would actually work in reality, which is to say nothing of how the shells themselves would be cleaned after usage. The idea of ​​Spartan dealing with the three seashells method certainly plays against Stallone’s action hero roles.

Sandra Bullock Explained The Three Seashells

Sandra Bullock wearing sunglasses in Demolition Man

Stallone wasn’t the only star of the film to offer up an explanation of Demolition Man‘s three seashells. Sandra Bullock was asked about the mystery behind the 3 seashells (via MTV), and she gave her own take on it. Bullock suggested “There’s several processes. You have number one, you have number two, and then the cleanup.” Bullock even offered some good-hearted teasing to the interviewer who posed the question, saying “It was obvious to me when I read it. I thought you were an intelligent man, but obviously not.” Though Bullock stars in The Lost City and other hits, she can’t escape the infamy of the Demolition Man 3 seashells.

Why The Three Seashells Made It Into Demolition Man

Sylvester Stallone points a gun in Demolition Man

The three seashells aren’t central to the plot of Demolition Man at all, but they’ve been one of the most-discussed elements of the film. According to a fan (via Reddit), screenwriter Daniel Waters addressed the mystery at a Q&A. Even though he didn’t reveal the secret behind the shells, he explained how he conceived of the idea, feeling that bathrooms of the future would have some kind of unique features. He then called a writer friend for inspiration, who revealed he kept seashells in his bathroom as a decoration.

Waters, though he didn’t reveal how to truly use the three seashells in Demolition Man, did detail how he came up with the idea and gave more information about the call with his screenwriter friend. The story is totally in keeping with the ridiculousness of Demolition Man as a movie, too. Waters explained at the Q&A that he was struggling to come up with futuristic things to find in a 2032 toilet, explaining, “I called my buddy, another screenwriter across town, asked him if he had any ideas.”

Waters added, “Ironically enough that guy was taking a dump when he answered the phone, looked around his bathroom and said ‘I have a bag of seashells on my toilet as a decoration?’ I said ‘Okay, I’ll make something out of that.'” (via Den of Geek). While seashells might be common decorative items in bathrooms, replacing toilet paper with 3 seashells in Demolition Man is quite a jump. However, the story just further adds to the mystery and all but confirms the seashells’ purpose, but it still doesn’t explain how they’re used.

How The Three Seashells Became A Meme

3 seashells meme

Like anything online in the current day and age, social media memes can take on a life of their own, and the Demolition Man three seashells meme was born in 2007. It regained popularity in 2020 when connections were drawn between the COVID-19 pandemic and the world presented in Demolition Man. As happens with so many Marvel and Fast & Furious memes, the joke gained traction, and on February 8th, 2008, the Urban Dictionary listed an entry titled “Three Seashells,” further explaining the proper procedure. the Demolition Man The 3 seashells method has now become the stuff of legend, bringing the film sporadically back into the spotlight.

By Gundah

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *