Major-General's Song
I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General (often referred to as the Major-General's Song or Modern Major-General's Song) is a patter song
Patter song
The patter song is characterized by a moderately fast to very fast tempo with a rapid succession of rhythmic patterns in which each syllable of text corresponds to one note...

 from Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan . The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S...

's 1879 comic opera
Comic opera
Comic opera denotes a sung dramatic work of a light or comic nature, usually with a happy ending.Forms of comic opera first developed in late 17th-century Italy. By the 1730s, a new operatic genre, opera buffa, emerged as an alternative to opera seria...

 The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The opera's official premiere was at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on 31 December 1879, where the show was well received by both audiences...

. It is perhaps the most famous song in Gilbert and Sullivan's operas. It is sung by Major-General
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

 Stanley at his first entrance, towards the end of Act I. The song satirises the idea of the "modern" educated British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 officer of the latter 19th century. It is one of the most difficult patter songs to perform, due to the fast pace and tongue-twisting nature of the lyrics.

The song is replete with historical and cultural references, in which the Major-General describes his impressive and well-rounded education, but he says that his military knowledge has "only been brought down to the beginning of the century." The stage directions in the libretto state that at the end of each verse the Major-General is "bothered for a rhyme." Interpolated business occurs here, and in each case he finds a rhyme and finishes the verse with a flourish.


I am the very model of a modern Major-General
Major-General (United Kingdom)
Major general is a senior rank in the British Army. Since 1996 the highest position within the Royal Marines is the Commandant General Royal Marines who holds the rank of major general...

I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral
Twenty Questions
Twenty Questions is a spoken parlor game which encourages deductive reasoning and creativity. It originated in the United States and escalated in popularity during the late 1940s when it became the format for a successful weekly radio quiz program....

I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World
The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World: from Marathon to Waterloo is a book written by Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy and published in 1851. This book tells the story of the fifteen military engagements which, according to the author, had a significant impact on world history.-Chapters:Each...

From Marathon
Battle of Marathon
The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC, during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by Datis and Artaphernes. It was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate...

 to Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, in order categorical;
I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
I understand equations, both the simple
Linear equation
A linear equation is an algebraic equation in which each term is either a constant or the product of a constant and a single variable....

 and quadratical
Quadratic equation
In mathematics, a quadratic equation is a univariate polynomial equation of the second degree. A general quadratic equation can be written in the formax^2+bx+c=0,\,...

About binomial theorem
Binomial theorem
In elementary algebra, the binomial theorem describes the algebraic expansion of powers of a binomial. According to the theorem, it is possible to expand the power n into a sum involving terms of the form axbyc, where the exponents b and c are nonnegative integers with , and the coefficient a of...

 I'm teeming with a lot o' news,
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse
Pythagorean theorem
In mathematics, the Pythagorean theorem or Pythagoras' theorem is a relation in Euclidean geometry among the three sides of a right triangle...


I'm very good at integral and differential
Differential calculus
In mathematics, differential calculus is a subfield of calculus concerned with the study of the rates at which quantities change. It is one of the two traditional divisions of calculus, the other being integral calculus....

I know the scientific names
Binomial nomenclature
Binomial nomenclature is a formal system of naming species of living things by giving each a name composed of two parts, both of which use Latin grammatical forms, although they can be based on words from other languages...

 of beings animalculous
Animalcule is an older term for a microscopic animal or protozoan. Some better-known animalcules include:* Actinophrys, and other heliozoa, called sun animalcules...

In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

I know our mythic history, King Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

's and Sir Caradoc
Caradoc Vreichvras Arm) was a semi-legendary ancestor to the kings of Gwent. He lived during the 5th or 6th century. He is remembered in Arthurian legend as a Knight of the Round Table as Carados Briefbras ....

I answer hard acrostic
An acrostic is a poem or other form of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message. As a form of constrained writing, an acrostic can be used as a mnemonic device to aid memory retrieval. A famous...

s, I've a pretty taste for paradox
Similar to Circular reasoning, A paradox is a seemingly true statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition...

I quote in elegiac
Elegiac refers either to those compositions that are like elegies or to a specific poetic meter used in Classical elegies. The Classical elegiac meter has two lines, making it a couplet: a line of dactylic hexameter, followed by a line of dactylic pentameter...

s all the crimes of Heliogabalus
Elagabalus , also known as Heliogabalus, was Roman Emperor from 218 to 222. A member of the Severan Dynasty, he was Syrian on his mother's side, the son of Julia Soaemias and Sextus Varius Marcellus. Early in his youth he served as a priest of the god El-Gabal at his hometown, Emesa...

In conics
Conic section
In mathematics, a conic section is a curve obtained by intersecting a cone with a plane. In analytic geometry, a conic may be defined as a plane algebraic curve of degree 2...

 I can floor peculiarities parabolous
In mathematics, the parabola is a conic section, the intersection of a right circular conical surface and a plane parallel to a generating straight line of that surface...

I can tell undoubted Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

s from Gerard Dows
Gerard Dou
Gerrit Dou , also known as Gerard and Douw or Dow, was a Dutch Golden Age painter, whose small, highly-polished paintings are typical of the Leiden fijnschilders...

 and Zoffanies
Johann Zoffany
Johan Zoffany, Zoffani or Zauffelij was a German neoclassical painter, active mainly in England...

I know the croaking chorus from The Frogs
The Frogs
The Frogs is a comedy written by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. It was performed at the Lenaia, one of the Festivals of Dionysus, in 405 BC, and received first place.-Plot:...

of Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

Then I can hum a fugue
In music, a fugue is a compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and recurs frequently in the course of the composition....

 of which I've heard the music's din afore,
And whistle all the airs
Air (music)
Air , a variant of the musical song form, is the name of various song-like vocal or instrumental compositions.-English lute ayres:...

 from that infernal nonsense Pinafore
H.M.S. Pinafore
H.M.S. Pinafore; or, The Lass That Loved a Sailor is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and a libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It opened at the Opera Comique in London, England, on 25 May 1878 and ran for 571 performances, which was the second-longest run of any musical...


Then I can write a washing bill in Babylonic cuneiform,
And tell you ev'ry detail of Caractacus
Caratacus was a first century British chieftain of the Catuvellauni tribe, who led the British resistance to the Roman conquest....

's uniform:
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

In fact, when I know what is meant by "mamelon" and "ravelin
A ravelin is a triangular fortification or detached outwork, located in front of the innerworks of a fortress...

When I can tell at sight a Mauser rifle
Mauser was a German arms manufacturer of a line of bolt-action rifles and pistols from the 1870s to 1995. Mauser designs were built for the German armed forces...

 from a Javelin
A Javelin is a light spear intended for throwing. It is commonly known from the modern athletic discipline, the Javelin throw.Javelin may also refer to:-Aviation:* ATG Javelin, an American-Israeli civil jet aircraft, under development...

When such affairs as sortie
Sortie is a term for deployment or dispatch of one military unit, be it an aircraft, ship, or troops from a strongpoint. The sortie, whether by one or more aircraft or vessels, usually has a specific mission....

s and surprises I'm more wary at,
And when I know precisely what is meant by "commissariat
A commissariat is the department of an army charged with the provision of supplies, both food and forage, for the troops. The supply of military stores such as ammunition is not included in the duties of a commissariat. In almost every army the duties of transport and supply are performed by the...

When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery,
When I know more of tactics
Military tactics
Military tactics, the science and art of organizing an army or an air force, are the techniques for using weapons or military units in combination for engaging and defeating an enemy in battle. Changes in philosophy and technology over time have been reflected in changes to military tactics. In...

 than a novice
Novitiate, alt. noviciate, is the period of training and preparation that a novice monastic or member of a religious order undergoes prior to taking vows in order to discern whether they are called to the religious life....

 in a nunnery
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

In short, when I've a smattering of elemental strategy
Military strategy
Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goals. Derived from the Greek strategos, strategy when it appeared in use during the 18th century, was seen in its narrow sense as the "art of the general", 'the art of arrangement' of troops...

You'll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...


For my military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury,
Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;
But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.


Parodies and pastiches other than film and TV

The song has been used as the basis for numerous parodies and pastiche
A pastiche is a literary or other artistic genre or technique that is a "hodge-podge" or imitation. The word is also a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language.-Hodge-podge:...

s, including Tom Lehrer
Tom Lehrer
Thomas Andrew "Tom" Lehrer is an American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, mathematician and polymath. He has lectured on mathematics and musical theater...

's "Elements Song
The Elements (song)
"The Elements" is a song by musical humorist Tom Lehrer, which recites the names of all the chemical elements known at the time of writing, up to number 102, nobelium. It can be found on his albums Tom Lehrer in Concert, More Songs by Tom Lehrer and An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer...

", and "The Unix Sysadmin Song," written for the book The Unix Companion by Harley Hahn, which replaces the military references with Unix
Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...

 trivia. In the hit video game Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 2 is an action role-playing game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 on January 26, 2010 and for PlayStation 3 on January 18, 2011...

, the character Dr. Mordin Solus sings a short pastiche version ("I am the very model of a scientist Salarian"). Another pastiche, also inspired by "The Elements", is the "Boy Scout Merit Badge Song", listing all the merit badges that can be earned from the Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...


On the last night of The Proms
The Proms
The Proms, more formally known as The BBC Proms, or The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC, is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held annually, predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall in London...

 in 2000, the outgoing conductor, Sir Andrew Davis
Andrew Davis (conductor)
Sir Andrew Frank Davis CBE is a British conductor.Born in Ashridge, Hertfordshire to Robert J. Davis and his wife Florence J. née Badminton, Davis grew up in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, and in Watford. Davis attended Watford Boys' Grammar School, where he studied classics in his sixth form years...

, sang a pastiche of the song celebrating the festival. When Derek Pattinson
Derek Pattinson
Sir William Derek Pattinson was Secretary-General of the General Synod of the Church of England from 1972 until 1990.-Early years:...

 retired as Secretary-General of the General Synod of the Church of England
General Synod
-Church of England:In the Church of England, the General Synod, which was established in 1970 , is the legislative body of the Church.-Episcopal Church of the United States:...

 in 1990, a choir sang a variation on the Major-General's Song, with the line "He was the very model of a Secretary-General", in a meeting of the General Synod
General Synod
-Church of England:In the Church of England, the General Synod, which was established in 1970 , is the legislative body of the Church.-Episcopal Church of the United States:...

. In May 2010, a parody version of the song was posted as an op-ed piece in the Richmond Times-Dispatch
Richmond Times-Dispatch
The Richmond Times-Dispatch is the primary daily newspaper in Richmond the capital of Virginia, United States, and is commonly considered the "newspaper of record" for events occurring in much of the state...

mocking actions of the Attorney General of Virginia
Attorney General of Virginia
The Attorney General of Virginia is an executive office in the Government of Virginia. Attorneys General are elected for a four-year term in the year following a presidential election . There are no term limits restricting the number of terms someone can serve as Attorney General...

, Ken Cuccinelli
Ken Cuccinelli
Kenneth Thomas 'Ken' Cuccinelli II is a U.S. politician and the Attorney General of Virginia. From 2002 until January 16, 2010 he was a Republican member of the Senate of Virginia, representing the 37th district in Fairfax County...

. In October 2010, Ron Butler
Ron Butler
Ronald "Ron" Dean Butler, Jr. is a Bahamian-born American television actor who is best known for portraying Oscar, the clever receptionist for Mad Style, on True Jackson, VP.-Early life:...

 released a YouTube video pastiche of the song in character as President Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

. Florida gubernatorial candidate Michael E. Arth
Michael E. Arth
Michael E. Arth is an American artist, home/landscape/urban designer, public policy analyst, advocate for the homeless, futurist, and author. He was a candidate for the governor of Florida in 2009 and 2010.-Art:Michael E...

 released a YouTube video in 2010 of him singing "I am the Very Model of a Pragmatic Humanitarian" while using placards like Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

 did in Dont Look Back
Dont Look Back
Dont Look Back is a 1967 documentary film by D.A. Pennebaker that covers Bob Dylan's 1965 concert tour in the United Kingdom.In 1998, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically...


Film references

The Pirate Movie
The Pirate Movie
The Pirate Movie is a 1982 musical and comedy film directed by Ken Annakin and starring Christopher Atkins and Kristy McNichol. The film is loosely based on Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera The Pirates of Penzance. The original music score is composed by Mike Brady and Peter Sullivan...

, a 1982 modern musical parody of The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The opera's official premiere was at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on 31 December 1879, where the show was well received by both audiences...

, features many songs from the opera, including this song. A contemporary flavour was introduced, as the Major-General adds to the song lines such as: "Man, I'm older than The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

, but I'm younger than The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

." In the 1983 film Never Cry Wolf
Never Cry Wolf (film)
Never Cry Wolf is a 1983 American drama film directed by Carroll Ballard. The film is an adaption of Farley Mowat's 1963 autobiography of the same name and stars Charles Martin Smith as a government biologist sent into the wilderness to study the caribou population, whose decline is believed to be...

, Tyler sings the song while marking the perimeter of his base camp with urine to notify a local wolf pack of his intention to remain in the area.

In the 2001 time-travel comedy Kate & Leopold
Kate & Leopold
Kate & Leopold is a 2001 romantic-comedy fantasy that tells a story of a duke who travels through time from New York in 1876 to the present and falls in love with a career woman in the modern New York...

, Leopold sings the song; however, the scene is anachronistic in that The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The opera's official premiere was at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on 31 December 1879, where the show was well received by both audiences...

premiered in 1879, after Leopold had already left his own time of 1876. The 2003 Veggie Tales cartoon film The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment!
The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment!
The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment! is the 19th episode in the VeggieTales series. It was released on May 20, 2003 on DVD and VHS. It is a variety show in which the Veggies sing songs from various sing-along albums in a format that conforms to Larry's idea of what the future of entertainment...

features Archibald Asparagus singing the first verse of the song. In the 2004 movie Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers
Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers
Mickey · Donald · Goofy: The Three Musketeers is a direct-to-video animated film adaptation of the novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, père. As the title suggests, it features Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy as the three musketeers...

, a major-general sings the song during a performance of the opera. However, the fight between the Musketeers and the Beagle Boys interrupts some of his lines.

Television references

The song, or parts of it, has been sung in numerous television programs. For example, The Muppet Show
The Muppet Show
The Muppet Show is a British television programme produced by American puppeteer Jim Henson and featuring Muppets. After two pilot episodes were produced in 1974 and 1975, the show premiered on 5 September 1976 and five series were produced until 15 March 1981, lasting 120 episodes...

(season 3, episode 52) staged a duet of the song with guest host Gilda Radner
Gilda Radner
Gilda Susan Radner was an American comedian and actress, best known as one of the original cast members of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, for which she won an Emmy Award in 1978.-Early life:...

 and a 7 feet (2.1 m) talking carrot. Radner had requested a seven-foot-tall talking parrot, but Kermit had difficulty reading her handwriting. In Season 2, Episode 13 of USA Network
USA Network
USA Network is an American cable television channel launched in 1971. Once a minor player in basic cable, the network has steadily gained popularity because of breakout hits like Monk, Psych, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, Covert Affairs, White Collar, Monday Night RAW, Suits, and reruns of the various...

 series In Plain Sight
In Plain Sight
In Plain Sight is an American dramatic television series on USA Network. The series revolves around Mary Shannon , a Deputy United States Marshal attached to the Albuquerque, New Mexico office of the Federal Witness Security Program , more commonly known as the Federal Witness Protection Program...

, WITSEC workers, Mary and Eleanor, sing along to the song which is being used as hold music. In an episode of Home Improvement
Home Improvement
Home Improvement is an American television sitcom starring Tim Allen, that aired from September 17, 1991 to May 25, 1999. The show was created by Matt Williams, Carmen Finestra and David McFadzean. In the 1990s, it was one of the most watched sitcoms in the American market, winning many awards...

, Al Borland, thinking he was in a sound-proof booth, belts out the first stanza but is heard by everyone. In an episode of Unfabulous
Unfabulous is an American children's television series that aired on Nickelodeon The series is about an "unfabulous" junior high school student, played by Emma Roberts...

, Addie Singer begins to sing a pastiche of the song entitled "I am the very model of a modern major idiot" while rehearsing for The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The opera's official premiere was at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on 31 December 1879, where the show was well received by both audiences...


Other renditions have included the Babylon 5
Babylon 5
Babylon 5 is an American science fiction television series created, produced and largely written by J. Michael Straczynski. The show centers on a space station named Babylon 5: a focal point for politics, diplomacy, and conflict during the years 2257–2262...

episodes "Atonement
Atonement (Babylon 5)
"Atonement" is an episode from the fourth season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.-Synopsis:As Babylon 5 recovers from the propaganda war started on ISN, Sheridan sends Marcus and Dr. Franklin to Mars. Along the journey, they annoy each other, including Marcus singing "The...

", sung by Marcus Cole
Marcus Cole
Marcus Cole, played by Jason Carter, is a fictional character in the universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5. He was a regular in the third and fourth seasons of the show...

 to irritate fellow passenger Dr. Franklin
Stephen Franklin
Stephen Franklin is a lead character in the fictional universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by the late Richard Biggs. He serves as the chief medical officer on the Babylon 5 space station.-Personality:...

; The Wind In The Willows
The Wind in the Willows (TV series)
The Wind in the Willows is a 52-episode TV series that was originally broadcast between 1984 and 1987, based on characters from Kenneth Grahame's classic story The Wind in the Willows and following the 1983 film The Wind in the Willows. It was made by animation company Cosgrove Hall for Thames...

episode "A Producer's Lot" (Series 3, Episode 11) sung by Mole (Richard Pearson
Richard Pearson (actor)
Richard de Pearsall Pearson was a Welsh actor. Notable films of his career included Brian Desmond Hurst's Scrooge as well as a brief appearance in John Schlesinger's Sunday Bloody Sunday and cameo roles in three films by Roman Polanski: Macbeth , Tess and Pirates...

); the Married With Children episode "Peggy and the Pirates" (Season 7, Episode 18); the Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry as part of the Star Trek franchise. Roddenberry, Rick Berman, and Michael Piller served as executive producers at different times throughout the production...

episode "Disaster
Disaster (TNG episode)
"Disaster" is a season 5 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The episode has an average rating of 4.4/5 on the official Star Trek website .-Overview:...

"; the episode of Frasier
Frasier is an American sitcom that was broadcast on NBC for eleven seasons, from September 16, 1993, to May 13, 2004. The program was created and produced by David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee in association with Grammnet and Paramount Network Television.A spin-off of Cheers, Frasier stars...

titled "Fathers and Sons" (Martin
Martin Crane
Det. Martin "Marty" Crane is a fictional character on the American television show Frasier. He was played by actor John Mahoney. Martin is the father of Frasier and Niles Crane.- Biography :...

 interrupts the song trying to join in, singing, "With many awful facts about the scary hippopotamus
The hippopotamus , or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse" , is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal and the heaviest...

"); the Mad About You
Mad About You
Mad About You is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 23, 1992 to May 24, 1999. The show starred Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt as a newly married couple in New York City. Reiser played Paul Buchman, a documentary film maker. Hunt played Jamie Stemple Buchman, a public relations specialist...

episode "Moody Blues" (Season 6, Episode 5); the "Deep Space Homer
Deep Space Homer
"Deep Space Homer" is the fifteenth episode of The Simpsons fifth season and first aired on February 24, 1994. The episode was directed by Carlos Baeza and was the only episode of The Simpsons written by David Mirkin, who was also the executive producer at the time...

" episode of The Simpsons
The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

; two VeggieTales
VeggieTales is an American series of children's computer animated films featuring anthropomorphic vegetables in stories conveying moral themes based on Christianity...

episodes: "The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment!
The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment!
The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment! is the 19th episode in the VeggieTales series. It was released on May 20, 2003 on DVD and VHS. It is a variety show in which the Veggies sing songs from various sing-along albums in a format that conforms to Larry's idea of what the future of entertainment...

" and "A Snoodle's Tale
A Snoodle's Tale
A Snoodle's Tale is the 22nd episode in the VeggieTales animated series, released on November 2003 and May 2004 on both DVD and VHS formats...

", which aired on qubo
Qubo is a multi-platform children's television specialty channel endeavor operated as a joint venture between ION Media Networks, NBCUniversal, Nelvana, Scholastic Corporation, and Classic Media...

; and a 1989 episode of Neighbours
Neighbours is an Australian television soap opera first broadcast on the Seven Network on 18 March 1985. It was created by TV executive Reg Watson, who proposed the idea of making a show that focused on realistic stories and portrayed adults and teenagers who talk openly and solve their problems...

. Sometimes the song is used in an audition situation. For example, in the Two and a Half Men
Two and a Half Men
Two and a Half Men is an American television sitcom that premiered on CBS on September 22, 2003. Starring Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Angus T. Jones, the show was originally about a hedonistic jingle writer, Charlie Harper; his uptight brother, Alan; and Alan's growing son, Jake...

episode "And the Plot Moistens" (Season 3, Episode 21), Alan sings the first verse of the song to persuade Jake to join the school musical. Similarly, in season 2 of Slings & Arrows
Slings and Arrows
Slings and Arrows is a Canadian TV series set at the fictional New Burbage Festival, a Shakespearean festival similar to the real-world Stratford Festival...

, Richard Smith-Jones uses the song to audition for the festival's musical. In the pilot episode of 90210
90210 (TV series)
90210 is an American teen drama television series developed by Rob Thomas, Jeff Judah and Gabe Sachs, and the fourth series in the Beverly Hills, 90210 franchise created by Darren Star. 90210 is the first series produced by CBS Productions under the company's re-launch, but is now produced by CBS...

, Annie Wilson sings the beginning of the song in a flash back of her old school performance.

Parodies or pastiches of the song have been sung in a number of television programs. For example, the computer-animated series ReBoot
ReBoot is a Canadian CGI-animated action-adventure cartoon series that originally aired from 1994 to 2001. It was produced by Vancouver-based production company Mainframe Entertainment, Alliance Communications, BLT Productions and created by Gavin Blair, Ian Pearson, Phil Mitchell and John Grace,...

ended its third season (Episode 39: "End Prog") with a recap of the entire season, set to the song's tune. The Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was an American dramedy television series created and written by Aaron Sorkin. It ran for 22 episodes.The series takes place behind the scenes of a live sketch comedy show on the fictional television network NBS , whose format is similar to that of NBC's...

episode "The Cold Open" (2006), the cast of Studio 60 opens with a parody: "We'll be the very model of a modern network TV show; we hope that you don't mind that our producer was caught doing blow
Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic...

". In the Doctor Who
Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior...

Big Finish Productions
Big Finish Productions
Big Finish Productions is a British company that produces books and audio plays based, primarily, on cult British science fiction properties...

 audio, Doctor Who and the Pirates
Doctor Who and the Pirates
Doctor Who and the Pirates is a Big Finish Productions audio drama based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who...

, the Doctor
Doctor (Doctor Who)
The Doctor is the central character in the long-running BBC television science-fiction series Doctor Who, and has also featured in two cinema feature films, a vast range of spin-off novels, audio dramas and comic strips connected to the series....

 sings, "I am the very model of a Gallifrey
Gallifrey is a fictional planet in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who and is the homeworld of the Doctor and the Time Lords...

an buccaneer". (and other songs, from Pirates, Pinafore and Ruddigore
Ruddigore; or, The Witch's Curse, originally called Ruddygore, is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It is one of the Savoy Operas and the tenth of fourteen comic operas written together by Gilbert and Sullivan...

, are parodied). When he hosted Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

, David Hyde Pierce
David Hyde Pierce
David Hyde Pierce is an American actor and comedian best known for playing psychiatrist Dr. Niles Crane on the NBC sitcom Frasier, for which he received many accolades including four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.-Early life:Pierce, the youngest of four siblings,...

's monologue was a parody of the song. In the Animaniacs
Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs, usually referred to as simply Animaniacs, is an American animated series, distributed by Warner Bros. Television and produced by Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. The cartoon was the second animated series produced by the collaboration of Steven...

short "H.M.S. Yakko", Yakko sings "I am the Very Model of a Cartoon Individual".

External links

  • Major-General's Song sung by John Reed
    John Reed (actor)
    John Lamb Reed, OBE was an English actor, dancer and singer, known for his nimble performances in the principal comic roles of the Savoy Operas, particularly with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company...

  • General Song at TV Tropes
    TV Tropes
    TV Tropes is a wiki which collects and expands on various conventions and devices found within creative works. Since its establishment in 2004, the site has gone from covering only television and film tropes to also covering those in a number of other media such as literature, comics, video-games,...


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