UnScripts:HMS Potatore

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Plot outline

A girl wants to marry a good sailor but isn't allowed to, because it has been arranged that she is to marry the 1st Lord of the Admiralty instead, as he's of a higher class. But it turns out that the sailor and another character were switched at birth (Gilbert: Oh, that's just brilliant, there. You're a regular M. Night Shyamalan, aren't you?), so he's actually high class after all, and they're free to marry. The other character is, needless to say, screwed.

Gilbert & Sullivan stretched this simple story out into a lengthy musical, managing to make a story about class division on a vessel of the British Admiralty seem not manly at all (Sullivan: My story was butch, until Dilbert went and ruined it with his pansy music.) (Gilbert: You sir, are mistaken. Tis I that am the butch one!).[1]

H.M.S. Potatore, bowdlerized

"I'm called Little Interweb"

SCENE — Quarter-deck of H.M.S. Potatore. Users, led by Admins, discovered clearing cruft, reporting vandals, etc.

We sail the Wiki blue,
And our computer is a beauty;
We're sober geeks and true,
And attentive to our duty.
When the mouseballs whistle free (Gilbert: WTF does that even mean?) (Sullivan: Just what, exactly, does "WTF" stand for? Your grasp of the King's English truly is deplorable.)
O'er in-ter-net,
We stare at displays all day;
When at for-ums we ride
On the smacktalk tide,
We have plenty of time to play.

Enter Interweb:

For I'm called Little Interweb — dear Little Interweb,
Though I could never tell why,
But still I'm called Interweb — poor little Interweb,
A series of tubes...I!
We're pretty sure that Little Interweb is the chubby one. Or maybe it's Josephine.
I've cruft and van-ity, and countries aplenty,
I've Poo-Lit, and guitars, and cows;
I've Ikea and robots to set off the faces
Of pretty young sweethearts and grues. (Gilbert: Cows and grues? You thought that those rhymed?)
I've Kool Aid and Zombies, I've air and I've Barbie,
Soft cabbage and Gratuitous Panty Shots;
I've fables and neighbours, and pretty Transformers
And excellent po-ta-to chops.
Then surf on your Interweb — dear Little Interweb;
Users should never be shy;
So, goo-gle your Interweb — poor Little Interweb;
Edit, your wiki...try! (Gilbert: I had to add that giant pause in to cover your atrocious metre.)

After that, they stop singing and start talking. You promptly start to fall asleep (Gilbert: See, Dullivan? I told you that it was my music that kept them on the edge of their seats!). Your girlfriend, however, remains wide awake and enraptured with the happenings on stage (Sullivan: Ha! In art, as in life, I get all the girls.). Time passes...

"The Admin Song"

After returning with popcorn tubs in each arm, you settle back down, resigned to a double-helping of salt and fiber (Sullivan: Since you, the uncultured boor, left to get food, you missed all of the important, plot-driving and, dare I say, witty reparte. So now you have to sit there as those onstage, again, break out into...<airquotes>song</airquotes>.).

(Gilbert: Hush! They're engaged in important dialogue.)
ADMIN - I am Admin of the great Potatore;
ALL - And a right lush Admin, too!
ADMIN - No, you're very, very lush,
But be it understood,
I rule witty users and noobs,
ALL - We're very, very funny,
And be it understood,
He rules witty users not noobs.
ADMIN - As Commander and a Knight,
I can revert, flame, and fight,
I have never filled demands
Of the fury of the banned,
And I never, never needed New Age Psychology! (Sullivan: Unlike some other people...) (Gilbert: Hey!).
ALL - What, never?
ADMIN - No, never!
ALL - What, never?
ADMIN - Hardly ever!
ALL - He's hardly ever needed New Age Psychology!
Then give three razzes, and one razz more,
For the mentally-unbalanced Admin of the Potatore!
ADMIN - I do my best to burninate you all—
ALL - And your treatment we quite resent.
ADMIN - Your writing’s mostly shite (Sullivan: Ahem...),
And I think it only right
To delete what I deem dread.
With its spotless uniforms and love of lavish musical numbers, the British Fleet rules the seas.
ALL - We're exceedingly polite,
And we think it's only right
To return the compliment.
ADMIN - Bad language or abuse,
I never, never use,
Though you idiots may be deaf (Sullivan: I'm neither idiot nor deaf. At this point, however, I yearn whole-heartedly for the latter.).
And "You’re wrong" I may
Occasionally say,
I never use a big, big F
ALL - What, never?
ADMIN - No, never!
ALL - What, never?
ADMIN - Hardly ever!
ALL - Hardly ever swears a big, big F
Then give three razzes, and one razz more,
For the brain-dead Admin of the Potatore!

"When I was a N00b"

"When I was a N00b", one of several patter songs in HMS Potatore, follows the rise and fall of Sir Joseph up and down the ladder of success. His exploits are typical of his or any era; from humble N00b to mad with power administrator and back.

Enter Sir Joseph the Admin, keyboard in hand:

When I was a N00B I wrote a page
It hit VFD and...deletage.
I uploaded pictures and I added cats,
And I added a quote about The Aristocrats.
I polished up my own page so carefullee
That now I am the Ruler of this here wiki!
As a user I made such a din
That they promoted me to be an ad-min.
I banned users with a smile so wide,
And I banned and I banned, my joy I could not hide—
I banned all the IPs, the admins, the lo-sers,
And now I am saddened, demoted to use-r!

After this rapid-fire musical monologue (Sullivan: With Gilbert's music, it's generally best to get it over as quickly as is possible.), which continues for eight or nine more stanzas, culminating with his re-rise to adminhood, Sir Joseph stumbles offstage to check his email.

"A British Tar"

(Sullivan: Yet another yawn-inducing musical number. <sigh>)

"A British Tar", one of the many, many, songs in H.M.S. Potatore, describes in lurid detail all of the characteristics of the ideal sailor (Gilbert: What'd I miss? I'm back, with my take-out Super Bird with onion rings from Denny's. ...mmmm...I can't fathom just what exactly this has to do with tar.). During the time period in which H.M.S. Potatore is set, sailors (depending on rank/station) functioned as both users and admins on the boat that was to become the potato known as Uncyclopedia.

"A British Tar" is sung to the tune of "YMCA" by "Ye Village People"[2] (Sullivan: YMCA! What's next, "It's raining men"?).

British, user is a soaring soul.
I said, user, don't be such an asshole (Gilbert: Is it really necessary to use that kind of language? My God, man, there are members of the weaker sex in the audience!).
I said, user, a girl in each new town
There's no need to be unhappy.
Admin, there's a place you can go.
I said, admin, when you're short on your dough.
You can stay there, and I'm sure you will find
Many ways to have a good time.
It's time join the Bri-tish nay-vee.
It's fun to stay in the Bri-tish nay-vee.
They have everything for young men to enjoy,
You can hang out with all the boys... (Gilbert: Men? Boys? So it's true, Sully, that you are one of those...sodomites.)
It's time join the Bri-tish nay-vee.
It's fun to stay in the Bri-tish nay-vee.

Etc, etc...another hour to go and then you and your girlfriend can go home.[3] Of course this means that, since you've made the sacrifice and gone to something cultured, she now has to go with you to the Monster Truck rally (Sullivan: I've not heard of these things called Monster Trucks, but I suspect it would be something that one of low class would savour. Have you yet purchased a ticket to witness a spectacle such as this, Gilby?).

Who, save those that due to exposure to the first hour of H.M.S. Potatore have fallen into a Dead Zone-like coma and will miss the next several years (starting with the following stanza), will fail to recall this rousing concluding chorus:

ALL - And all Admins who huff on key
They stole the notion from Morrissey
For he himself has reverted
And it clearly indicates he's perverted
And he is Totalitarian
He remains Totalitarian!

Characters and Critical Reactions

Many stars have acted in H.M.S. Potatore, including the Doc from Back to the Future (left) and an elderly Arthur Dent (right).
  • Sir Joseph/Dame Josephine - Crossdressing dual role played with iron will by Sir Ian McKellen in the 1986 London production; considered the most challenging of the leads. (Gilbert: Sir McKellen! But I've heard rumours of his fondness for buggery. Outrageous that they would knight someone with that affliction!)
  • Captain Corcoran - The ultimate 'bad boy', predating even, um, Bad Boys, Corcoran's name was chosen after it was discovered that the original name, Captain Highliner, was trademarked by "International Foodlike Products, Inc".
  • Ralph Rackstraw (Gilbert: ...and just how did you come up with a name like that? Would this be the name of a character from one of those books of a comic nature that you keep in your room? Prithee, what next...Lois Lane? Doctor Octopus?) (Sullivan: At least I am in possession of my own apartment. Tell me, Dullbert, how are the parents...hmmm? Are you still vexed by how they take your share of the bed?) - The protagonist, characteristically short, balding and fat. Loses his glasses astern many times during the action; cannot see Hebe clearly. Played with imaginative vigor by Kenneth Branagh, who had to gain 180 lbs and lose 14", in Australia's 2002 Summer Olympics extravaganza. Coincidentally, this helped him win the Gold in wrestling.
  • Dick Deadeye (Sullivan: I wanted his name to be "J. Jonah Jameson", but the lawyers wouldn't clear it.) - Another alliterating character name, funny on so many levels (Gilbert: <cough> Two, at most...), Dick is a helpful sales consultant who consistently strives with his positive attitude to bring Ralph and Hebe together in an orgy of secular adoration. His attempts at creating love through foodfighting, ballroom prancing, and post-midnight garburator gardening are eventually successful.
  • Boatswain - Doubling as the signalman and vandalism patrol bot, this role is typically filled by a theoretical physicist on sabbatical, who wants a little more spice in his life. This role's toughest requirement is for standing facing a corner while chewing leaves. Reputedly turned down by Stephen Hawking in 1997 as he felt his Forrest Gump impression wasn't up to the job.
  • Carpenter - One of several completely superfluous characters, Carpenter is played by someone who is both desperate for cash and can build the sets for cheap. Played with brilliant yet silent intensity by the method actors' method actor, Neil Patrick "Doogie" Harris in 1994.
  • Hebe[4] - heroine and Super Friend, Hebe has been interpreted as saucy & sinful (as played by Kirstie Alley) and silly & skeletal (as played by Calista Flockhart).
  • Little Interweb - Appearing as herself since Babbage's difference engine self-actualized in 1894. Click, whir.[5]

Cultural impact

(Sullivan: This is what passes for culture these days.)
  • In the "Cape Feare" episode of The Simpsons, Bart successfully stalls his would-be killer Sideshow Bob with a "final request" that Bob sing him the entire libretto of H.M.S. Potatore, but mistakenly referring to it as "Pinafore" (thereby confusing three entire generations of intellectual critics). He agrees, resulting in the first, and to date only, two hour episode of the Simpsons (Gilbert: The Simpsons? An homage, you say...it should be a crime to pilfer from me! To the Gilmobile!) (Sullivan: No, you crashed it. I got a new one...the SulliVan!...Oh, bother. It's in the shop. Let's just take the Mystery Machine.). Internet rumors abound, but most Simpsons geeks agree that this is when Matt Groening went mad. He remains mad to this very day.
  • Pinky and the Brain song called "When we were two lab rats with a fixation on showtunes." is set to the same tune as "When I was a lad" (Gilbert: It would appear that we have some competition in this duo.) (Sullivan: For once, I agree.).
  • There is a reference to H.M.S. Potatore in the "Major-General's Song" (from The Pirates of Penzance), in which the Major-General asserts that he can "whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Potatore." This means that Gilbert & Sullivan were eventually reduced to referencing themselves (Gilbert: You should not be so hasty to point fingers. Need I remind you of the time that you, <insert name here>, used the same Oscar Wilde misquote in two different articles?) (Sullivan: Zing!).
  • In Stephen King's novel The Potatore a ghost sailor haunts the H.M.S. Potatore (itself, a ghost ship), killing and terrorizing passengers, crew and the reader. Of course, being a book by Stephen King, eight hundred pages in it turns out that the ghost is an alien.


  1. ^  It should be noted that by the time Gilbert and Sullivan collaborated on this musical, the pair's massive egos were driving them apart. Wracked by clashes, fights and incessant bickering, it is said that they couldn't even stand to be in the same room with each other (Gilbert: Indeed. Sullivan, in fact, mailed his lackluster script to me...postage due.) (Sullivan: Only because you left that lit sack of excrement at my front door!).
  2. ^  "Ye Village People" at that time consisted of a white guy, a white guy, a white guy and a white guy (Sullivan: Two of them were us. I was the white gentleman.) (Gilbert: I too, was the white gentleman.).
  3. ^  ...for nookie...
  4. ^  As "Hebe" is a gross racial slur, to date most performances have cut that character entirely (except in the Bible Belt, where the character is generally rewritten to be a stereotypical Jew who's involved in a massive worldwide conspiracy of some sort).
  5. ^  Kill all humans!

(Gilbert: Footnotes? Just how am I to put these to music? This is your doing, Dullivan.) (Sullivan: Do not blame me. I fear the fault lays with the two ruffians that started this infernal page.)

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