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This article is about the episode "Total Rickall". You may be looking for the game.

"Total Rickall" is the fourth episode of the second season of Rick and Morty. It is the fifteenth episode of the series overall. It premiered on August 16, 2015. It was written by Mike McMahan and directed by Juan Meza-León. The episode is rated TV-14-DLV.


The family battles a parasite that implants fake memories into their heads, which leads them to wonder if any of them are real.


The Smith Family is having breakfast with Jerry's older brother, Uncle Steve, when Jerry receives an email about purchased plane tickets. Uncle Steve then admits that he bought them as a thank you to the family for letting him stay for the past year. When Rick comes into the room, he doesn't know who Uncle Steve is, and the family rebuffs him, claiming that Uncle Steve has stayed with them for the past year. Rick then pulls out a laser pistol and shoots Uncle Steve, who turns out to be a monster. While the Smith family gasp in shock at the realization that Uncle Steve wasn't real, Rick informs them that he was a parasite, an alien species that survive and multiply by implanting fake memories into people's head so they can conquer planets. He tells them to be aware of "wacky, zany characters that suddenly appear" and is encouraged by a newly introduced zany character, Mr. Poopybutthole.

In the living room, everyone is checking for more parasites. Rick makes a sign and places it on the wall saying that there should only be 6 people in the house: Rick, Morty, Jerry, Beth, Mr. Poopybutthole, and Summer. Saying that they can't take chances of letting parasites out of the house, he activates blast shields that keep people from coming in or out of the house, much to the chagrin of the rest of the family. Mr. Poopybutthole encourages the family to remember the time the family got stuck in an elevator after watching a musical featuring The Hulk and were freed by "Cousin Nicky". The memory flashback causes a parasite to multiply, and Cousin Nicky is shown in the room. After looking at the sign, Rick shoots Cousin Nicky in the shoulder, which turns him into a dead parasite. After another memory flashback, where a Nazi as well as a butler named Mr. Beauregard appear. As more and more memory flashbacks occur, more and more parasite characters appear (such as Frankenstein's Monster, a man named Sleepy Gary who is Beth's husband, food themed warriors, etc.). Rick starts to become irritated at the surplus of parasites and insults them all while they attempt to persuade Rick to disable the blast shields. After being goaded into having a flashback of having a barbecue with more characters, he is pushed over the edge and the house is filled. As arguing ensues, Jerry has suspicions that he is a parasite and confides in Sleepy Gary, who he truly believes is Beth's husband. Comforting him, Sleeping Gary implants a memory of he and Jerry having an affair while on a vacation, making the latter believe that they are in love.

As he insults more and more parasites, the aliens start to turn suspicion onto Rick, manipulating the false memories in the Smiths to turn them against him. The Smiths constantly attempt to persuade Rick into freeing everyone from the household even after Reverse Giraffe speaks. After he refuses to do so, the parasites soon beat up Rick and steal the watch that controls the blast shield. After Rick insults the Smith Family (mostly Morty) for not trusting him, Morty takes Rick's gun. Unable to kill Rick in front of a zany character named Pencilvester, Baby Wizard, Duck With Muscles and Morty take him out to the garage. After telling Rick that he'll remember him as a friend and unsatisfied, Rick retorts that he'll remember Morty as a "whiny bitch" citing that a minority of his memories of Morty were pleasant, and the majority were just pure annoyance. However, after listening to Ricks statement about good and bad memories, Morty has an epiphany and shoots Baby Wizard and Duck with Muscles. He explains to Rick that he found the tell-tale sign; the parasites were only capable of creating pleasant memories. So, he was able to know that Rick was real by all the terrible memories he had of him. Realizing Morty's theory was correct, Rick unlocks his armory and they both heavily arm themselves.

Coming back into the house, Rick and Morty fire warning shots into the air and explain that they need to kill everyone that can only be remembered fondly. They begin by questioning Mrs. Refrigerator, who attempts to prove that she was in an unpleasant memory by passing off a roller-coaster ride as screaming torment. Beth tells Mrs. Refrigerator that rollercoasters are more thrilling than unpleasant and reminds her that she had be a perfect companion to her for her entire life. Mrs. Refrigerator goes into a panic, tries to claw her way through the blast shields and is shortly killed and exposed as a memory parasite. Rick questions Summer who is annoyed at the accusation being made against her. Morty then validates Summer's existence as he recalls her kicking him in the groin when she believed him of going into her room, despite Morty protesting his innocence while cringing on the ground. After being armed, Summer joins the two in questioning Beth. Summer then remembers when she asked her drunk mother to take her to school for picture day and was given a black eye when Beth accidentally hits her with a wine bottle. Beth kills a bear like parasite (who had compatible kidneys with her) and the Smiths kill the remaining parasites. As they kill parasites, Summer confirms Morty is real by remembering accidentally walking in on him masturbating in the kitchen. Beth kills Sleepy Gary, sending Jerry into a depression, asking Beth to kill him so they can be together in death. To her chagrin, Beth remembers a memory when Jerry was being chased by a feral homeless man with a broken bottle and locks himself inside the car, leaving Beth to fend for herself.

Back downstairs, Rick comes across Pencilvester and has such fond "memories" of him, that he can't bring himself to kill him. Rick then asks Morty to kill Pencilvester. After killing Mr. Beauregard, Rick jokes that he did the butler, though Ghost in a Jar is the only one who gets it. Rick thanks Ghost in a Jar before shooting him as well, and eventually all the parasites are destroyed.

The family and Mr. Poopybutthole then sit down for dinner. Beth, being suspicious of the lack of bad memories of Mr. Poopybutthole, pulls out a ray gun and blasts him. However, instead of reverting into a parasite, Mr. Poopybutthole is blasted into a wall and begins bleeding from the wound in his torso. The family calls an ambulance, while Beth runs into the kitchen. Panicked, she pours a glass of wine with very shaky hands and downs it with eyes almost blinded with tears.

The post-credits scene reveals that Mr. Poopybutthole is alive and recovering in physical therapy. The nurse informs the family that Mr. Poopybutthole does not wish to see them right now, and that he is "sorry you didn't have bad memories of him". As Jerry comforts Beth, Rick does one of his weird catchphrases.


Mr. Poopybutthole was confirmed by Dan Harmon to have been a slightly different memory parasite than the ones that were shot and killed in the episode like Cousin Nicky.However, even without this confirmation, there are signs in the episode itself that Mr. Poopybutthole was a parasite. Mr. Poopybutthole is one of the many wacky and zany characters that are created out of nowhere in this episode. Mr. Poopybutthole shows up in the title sequence without explanation. Neither the Smith family nor viewers of the show have bad memories of Mr. Poopybutthole. The final scene where Beth shoots Mr. Poopybutthole can be explained as a memory created by Mr. Poopybutthole where again, Mr. Poopybutthole is not causing anyone else's pain. In the final scene where Mr. Poopybutthole is shot, again, Rick says a catchphrase that has never shown up in other episodes besides Total Rickall. These fake catchphrases seem to be invented by the memory parasites. Dan Harmon offered a theory in an interview that appears to match these events. Mr. Poopybutthole appears to breach the fourth wall in the ending of Total Rickall and future episodes where he appears by speaking directly to the viewers, implanting memories in the way a parasite would. This seems to suggest that the joke of the episode is that Mr. Poopybutthole has escaped the confines of the show and has escaped into the real world as a parasite in all of us.


Major Characters[]

Minor Characters[]


Alien Parasites[]




  • This episode features an edited version of the opening, with Mr. Poopybutthole in all the scenes.
    • Although this intro may seem to make Mr. Poopybutthole look like a parasite, it actually foreshadows that he's real because most of the opening scenes are considered "bad memories."
  • The episode is inspired by the addition of Dawn's character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of the writers found the idea of implanting memories as though someone has always been there horrifying.[2]
  • In one of the false memories, Rick is seen preparing to hoard a collection of limited edition Nintendo 3DS. Rick's voice actor Justin Roiland actually did this in real life.[3]
  • At the beginning of the episode, Rick is seen dumping a bunch of glowing green rocks into a trash can. These were the same rocks that he collected at the end of the episode Mortynight Run.
  • Strangely, it is unclear why Rick didn't write down the names of the original six on the paper as well, so that he would instantly know who was fake.
    • One possible explanation is that the parasites might've been able to alter the memories of the original family's names, coercing them into killing each other.
  • When Rick kills Ghost in a Jar he takes him out of the jar and kills him separately. Other characters who have foreign objects as a part of them die with the objects, that are a part of the alien parasite.
  • When Amish Cyborg is killed, he falls in front of the camera. However, strangely, he does not seem to have turned nor began to turn into one of the alien parasites by then, despite many of the rest morphing back to their alien forms before even falling to the ground.
  • The Blu-Ray release features special guest commentary from WWE stars Sheamus and “Real” Abed Gheith.
  • An alternate “TV-Y7” version, named "Rick and Morty Babies", was made for the April 1, 2021, broadcast of “adult swim jr” including a new intro, outro and new versions of both songs from the episode. The voices were recorded with an all-youth voice cast and some voices manipulated to sound younger, as well as some jokes and names being changed slightly as if to fit with TV-Y7 guidelines.
    • There was also an alternative "TV-Y7" version of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode, "Revenge of the Mooninites" during the prank, named "Aqua Child Hunger Force".
  • The Star Wars movie being filmed during Jerry's memory with Sleepy Gary is presumably Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as the film would have currently been filming at the time the episode was released in the U.S. in 2015, although it had to undergo reshoots in 2016 while the episode was released in Canada. The scene being filmed was presumably the Battle of Scarif which was set on coastal ground. Jerry states that they may see Chewbacca but this is unlikely as Chewbacca doesn't appear in the movie.
  • On April 1, 2022, an alternate version of the episode aired as apart of Adult Swim's annual April Fool's Day prank. The version featured cameo appearances of Pibby and BunBun, two characters from the online Adult Swim trailer, Come and Learn with Pibby, along with characters and locations being visually corrupted in several scenes.
    • There were also alternative versions of episodes with Pibby and BunBun in other Adult Swim series during the prank such as Smiling Friends ("Charlie Dies and Doesn't Come Back"), The Eric Andre Show ("Wink Martindale & Sarah Burns"), Aqua Teen Hunger Force ("Muscles"), Birdgirl ("ShareBear"), and Joe Pera Talks with You ("Joe Pera Reads You the Church Announcements").

Cultural References[]

  • The title of this episode is a play on Total Recall, a movie where implanting pleasant (but fake) memories into one's mind is a form of entertainment. The movie itself is inspired by the science fiction short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" by Phillip K. Dick.
  • Sleepy Gary told Rick that Frankenstein wasn't really Frankenstein, but Frankenstein's monster. This is a reference to the common misconception that the famous monster, who started off as a character in Mary Shelly's novel, is named Frankenstein. Frankenstein is actually the name of the mad scientist who created him, Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The monster itself wasn't actually given a name.
  • The false memories are set up and delivered very similarly to Family Guy's famous cutaway gags.
  • Rick was making cheeseburgers in one flashback, and he said that it reminded him of that Tom Cruise movie where he was making drinks. He didn't remember the name of it, and when he tried to remember it, he came to the conclusion that the name of it was "Cuisine". He was wrong about this, however. The real name of the movie he was thinking of was Cocktail.
  • One of Rick's catchphrase, "Rubber baby buggy bumpers!" is Donald Duck's catchphrase that has been hard to say.
  • Several of Rick's weapons resemble firearms from the Halo franchise, particularly the Rocket Launcher (SPNKR) and the MA5 Assault Rifle.
  • One of the writers said in the episode commentary of Total Rickall that he is a fan of the American science fiction horror film series The Thing (1982) whose the titular main antagonist is an extraterrestrial organism that can assimilate an organism and imitate them exactly down to their memories.
  • The parasites using human appearance and memories is similar to the Worms, another known species of alien parasites, who are the main antagonists of the 2006 Japanese tokusatsu series Kamen Rider Kabuto.
  • Rick's catchphrase "Ricky Ticky Tavi" refers to Rudyard Kipling's mongoose character and eponym short story Rikki-Tikki-Tavi from The Jungle Book.
  • The “adult swim jr” version of the intro references Rugrats, Muppet Babies, Baby Looney Tunes, Total DramaRama, and others, as well as references to the show’s usual intro.
  • Rick's attempt to keep track of reality by writing down the number of real characters on a piece of paper is a reference to the 2013 film, Coherence - in which the characters write down numbers in an attempt to distinguish themselves from their counterparts in parallel realities.
  • When the camera pans out in a shot with all the characters, Rick directly mentions Where's Waldo?.
  • Rick mentions the talk show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien as "90's Conan", when talking to Amish Cyborg and Hamurai.
  • The plot of the episode is very similar to the Adult Swim short, Too Many Cooks.


  • The Interdimensional Cable disappears when Sleepy Gary tells off Rick for shooting Summer.
  • Half the people on the roller coaster don't have faces.


View a full transcript of the episode here.


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Season 1 PilotLawnmower DogAnatomy ParkM. Night Shaym-Aliens!Meeseeks and DestroyRick Potion #9Raising GazorpazorpRixty MinutesSomething Ricked This Way ComesClose Rick-Counters of the Rick KindRicksy Business
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