Who is Mr. Poopy Butthole?

Greengrab via Hulu

Of all the minor characters in Rick and Morty, Mr. Poopy Butthole is perhaps the greatest mystery.

In the canon of the hit Adult Swim animated series Rick and Morty, Mr. Poopy Butthole is a small yellow character in a top hat who’s a longtime family friend of the Smiths.

mr poopy butthole Screengrab via AdultSwim/YouTube

Disgruntled, dimension-hopping grandpa Rick trusts him more than almost anyone, and his friendship with family mom, Beth, is so close she doesn’t have any negative memories of him. This turned out to be his undoing during a memory parasite invasion during the episode “Total Rickall.” The Smiths’ home starts filling up with new characters we’ve never seen before, leading Rick to realize that parasitic aliens are warping the family’s memories to make it seem like they belong. Because this is also Mr. Poopy Butthole’s first appearance—and his name is laughably unlikely—Beth suspects he’s a parasite. She feels certain of this when the family discovers they can only recall good memories about characters who are parasites. So she shoots him—but the joke is that Mr. Poopy Butthole really is real. His relationship with Beth is severely damaged after the shooting, though he remains close to the rest of the Smith family.

mr poopy butthole episode Screengrab via Adult Swim

No one knows exactly what Mr. Poopy Butthole is. A Gromflomite drone commented on the Galactic Federation database that he appears human. The Gromflomite surveillance of Mr. Poopy Butthole also revealed that he has a cat and lives in a modest apartment with a hotplate instead of a kitchen. According to the claymation short, “Poopy the Gymnast,” Mr. Poopy Butthole is still traumatized by his injuries and plagued by nightmares of never getting back on the pommel horse. While the series has made no reference to his past athletic career, it is safe to say he was once a star.   

One theory is that Mr. Poopy Butthole is a parasite, who somehow tricked the Smith family into creating a bad memory of him during the shooting at the end of “Total Rickall. Another is that the entire “Total Rickall” episode takes place in an alternate reality from the regular show, explaining why he appears in this episode’s opening credits but not the standard ones.

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While show co-creator Dan Harmon has never given a straight answer to Mr. Poopy Butthole’s origin, he did hint at one at 2017’s San Diego Comic-Con. A fan asked about the alternate reality theory as a possible origin of Mr. Poopy Butthole. Harmon suggests that perhaps Mr. Poopy Butthole is part of a species that lives in proximity to the memory parasites and is perhaps a more advanced version of them. Rather than use memories to create more characters, Mr. Poopy Butthole just fills people’s minds with memories of himself. (It’s also possible he’s just a funny addition to a show that sometimes leans into the nonsensical.)

mr poopy butthole Screengrab via YouTube/Will

If Mr. Poopy Butthole is an advanced alien species, he’s not limited to just dimension C-137 where the Smith family lives. At the end of “The Wedding Squanchers,” Mr. Poopy Butthole appears in the post-credit sequence. He’s still recovering from being shot by Beth, guzzling painkillers and walking with a cane. Things are obviously not going well, but beyond his health, it’s revealed that Mr. Poopy Butthole has just watched the same episode that we have and is aware the Smith family is part of series.

We learn a little bit more about where Mr. Poopy Butthole’s life goes after this scene when we discover at the end of season 3 he now has a wife and a kid. In a cute video posted ahead of Thanksgiving, Rick and Morty further fills in the gap with a photo album capturing Mr. Poopy Butthole’s education, meeting a lady, marriage, and parenthood.

mr poopy butthole Screengrab via AdultSwim/YouTube

Still, Mr. Poopy Butthole’s ability to break the fourth wall places him in a unique class among Rick and Morty characters, as previously only Rick Sanchez has talked to the audience. Does his ability to watch the actions of our characters with the same ease as the audience have some greater implication? We’ll have to keep watching Rick and Morty to find out. 

John-Michael Bond

John-Michael Bond

John-Michael Bond is a tech reporter and culture writer for Daily Dot. A longtime cord-cutter and early adopter, he's an expert on streaming services (Hulu with Live TV), devices (Roku, Amazon Fire), and anime. A former staff writer for TUAW, he's knowledgeable on all things Apple and Android. You can also also find him regularly performing standup comedy in Los Angeles.