No one in the Rick And Morty universe seems to know what a plumbus is or what it does, and yet the bulbous, flesh-colored device is nevertheless considered a must for every home. The necessity of owning a plumbus is simply taken as a given, possibly because it’s been marketed so well that it’s become integrated into daily life without actually serving any purpose. In that sense, it’s the perfect parody of useless but desirable consumer goods. But there’s more going on with the plumbus. Much more.The vaguely obscene-looking gewgaw debuted in a September 2015 episode entitled“Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate.” At one point in that episode, the characters gather around to watch a show-within-a-show entitled How They Do It…, an obvious parody of Discovery’s long-running documentary series How It’s Made. While How It’s Made details the manufacturing of such everyday items as light bulbs, erasers, and aluminum cans, How They Do It… applies the same matter-of-fact style to the making of plumbuses. The narrator sounds so knowledgeable and authoritative that it barely matters that what he’s saying makes no earthly sense whatsoever.
“It’s important that the fleeb is rubbed,” the narrator says with great confidence, “because the fleeb has all the fleeb juice.” Naturally. Maybe audiences just like to have things explained to them, whether or not they actually understand the explanations. It cannot be ignored, however, that the design of the plumbus is overtly sexual. The manufacturing process, too, seems all but pornographic, what with all that rubbing and poking and prodding and penetrating. Perhaps that’s the secret that has kept How It’s Made on the air all these years.