Chalk it up to the poem’s popularity, thieving television writers, or merely how well it soothes our collective and enduring obsession with terrible fictional parents, “This Be The Verse” is one of those poems that frequently gets quoted in well-known stories, but rarely gets attributed to its author. “Ted Lasso” is just barely the most recent show to do this.
It would probably be safe to bet that of our readers who heard this poem for the first time on TV, most heard it while watching “Succession.” In the Season 1 episode “Austerlitz,” in which Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his children attempt to participate in family therapy at the behest of the Waystar PR team, their therapist (Griffin Dunne) ritualistically recites the first four lines to open up the conversation.
If the last lines of the poem caught your memory more than the first, however, you may be recalling the famous final words spoken by Count Olaf in the bestselling children’s book series “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” After saving the only person he ever cared about, a dying Olaf chokes, “Get out as early as you can, / And don’t have any kids yourself.” This moment was faithfully recreated in the Netflix adaptation of the series, the poem being recited by Neil Patrick Harris and Allison Williams.
The poem has also been quoted on “Firefly Lane,” another Netflix series, AppleTV+’s “Shantaram,” the Showtime drama “Weeds,” and even a trailer for the series “Patrick Melrose,” which features another recitation from Allison Williams.