The Making of A Mother’s Day Parody of “You’re Welcome” from Disney’s Moana

Several days after I saw the movie Moana, I still had the song “You’re Welcome” (originally written by the incomparable Lin-Manuel Miranda and sung by the inimitable Dwane “The Rock” Johnson) firmly burrowed into my head. As it kept bouncing around in there, one lyric — Yes, it’s really me, it’s Maui: breathe it in! — changed slightly… “Maui” became “Mommy,” and an idea was born.

Listening to the song again, I realized it was ripe for parody if the character was changed from an arrogant God to an under-appreciated Mom (aren’t they all). So, I sat down with a printout of the original lyrics, a pencil and a pad of paper and set to seeing what I could do with them.

parody noun par·o·dy \ˈper-ə-dē, ˈpa-rə-\: An imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.

Lin-Manuel Miranda is an artist. His lyrics are incredibly complex, while also being accessible. I didn’t really hope to match his genius, but I did set out with 3 main goals…

  1. I wanted to stick as close to his original vision and verse as possible, but still give it the Mother’s Day spin. I didn’t want to completely rewrite his brilliant original lyrics, but use them as the foundation for a new story. Ideally, someone familiar with the song would hear echoes of the original in the parody.
  2. Along with that, I wanted to keep his rhyme structure in place as much as possible. Miranda finesses a lot of rhymes into his verses, and I wanted to maintain as many of those as possible, so I looked for words and phrases that could continue those patterns, while still telling the new story.
  3. I wanted the video itself to seem candid, as if we actually caught a mother in a moment of karaoke. I deliberately stayed away from something highly produced (which had the added benefit of reducing expenses) and tried to create something that looked like cellphone footage that was one take (even though it wasn’t either). I hoped the realization that the song was scripted, choreographed and rehearsed would come on gradually.

The first draft of the song took about an hour to write. It was decent (pretty good even), but I knew it was unfinished. Some of my favorite lyrics — “Straight outta whose vagina? Mine-a!” — were in that first version, but others wouldn’t really come together until later. The last one to nail was the verse in the rap — “What is the lesson, what is the take-away? Don’t mess with Maui when he’s on a breakaway.” — which went through about five versions before landing where it did (the night before shooting).

Ultimately, I felt really good about what I came up with. There are a couple places that still feel a little clunky to me (I won’t name which they are), but given the goals I made, I’m still happy with even them.

For comparison, below are the original lyrics and my parodied version “side-by-side” (they’re actually above-and-below, but that’s not a thing). Hopefully, this will help to illustrate the goals I set out above and what I did to achieve them.

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.


Lyrics
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s original lyrics in italics
My parodied lyrics in bold

I see what’s happening here
I see what’s happening here
You’re face to face with greatness and it’s strange
You’re face to face with greatness and it’s strange
You don’t even know how you feel
And your adoration is clear
It’s adorable!
You’re adorable!
It’s nice to see that humans never change.
It’s nice to see that children never change.

Open your eyes, let’s begin
It’s time for the lesson, let’s begin
Yes, it’s really me, it’s Maui: breathe it in!
Yes, it’s really me, it’s Mommy: breathe it in!

I know it’s a lot: the hair, the bod!
I know it’s a lot: the hair, the bod!
When you‘re staring at a demigod
When you stand before a wonder broad

What can I say except you’re welcome
What can I say except you’re welcome
For the tides, the sun, the sky
For the heart, the home, the calm
Hey it’s okay, it’s okay. You’re welcome.
Hey it’s okay, it’s okay. You’re welcome.
I’m just an ordinary demi-Guy!
I’m just an ordinary super-mom!

Hey, what has two thumbs and pulled up the sky
Hey! There at your birth we moved heaven and earth
When you were waddling ye high? This guy!
Straight outta whose vagina? Mine-a!

When the nights got cold, who stole you fire from down below?
When the night gets cold, who holds you close and won’t let go?
You’re looking at him, yo!
You’re looking at her, yo!

Oh, also I lassoed the sun — You’re welcome!
Oh, also I lasso the dough — You’re welcome!
To stretch your days and bring you fun
To stretch our funds and buy Lego.

Also, I harnessed the breeze, you’re welcome
Also, I harvested these — You’re welcome!
To fill your sails and shake your trees
To fill your tummies with nummies

So, what can I say except “you’re welcome”?
So, what can I say except “you’re welcome”?
For the islands I pulled from the sea
For the mountains I move for you
There’s no need to pray, it’s okay, you’re welcome
There’s no need to pray, it’s okay, you’re welcome
I guess it’s just my way of being me
You know it’s just how us mommies do
You’re welcome! You’re welcome!
You’re welcome! You’re welcome!

Well, come to think of it
Well, come to think of it
Kid, honestly, I can go on and on
Kid, I know that it’s so mysterial
I can explain every natural phenomenon
That you’re our genetic material
The tide, the grass, the ground
Your body, your heart, your mind
Oh, that was Maui just messing around
That’s just mommy and daddy combined
I killed an eel, I buried its guts
I found a man, I fixed him up
Sprouted a tree, now you’ve got coconuts
Wedded him, bedded him, now he’s your pop
What’s the lesson? What is the takeaway?
Here is the moral, Better not forget it…
Don’t mess with Maui when he’s on the breakaway
I know what I want and I know how to get it.

And the tapestry here in my skin
And the stretch marks here on my skin
Is a map of the victories I win
Remind me of the shape I was in
Look where I’ve been, I make everything happen
Look where I’ve been, I made everything happen
Look at that mean mini Maui just tippity tapping, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, hey
Look at you mini-mommies just a pittery-patterin’, chittery-chattering, clittery-clatterin’ — hey, hey, hey!

Well anyway, let me say you’re welcome
Well, anyway let me say you’re welcome
For the wonderful world you know
For the wonderful world you know
Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay, you’re welcome!
Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay, you’re welcome!
Well, come to think of it, I gotta go
But now it’s time for bed, you gotta go

Hey, it’s your day to say “you’re welcome”
We had a good day so I’ll say “you’re welcome”
’Cause I’m gonna need that boat
Now a hug and kiss because it’s time
I’m sailing away, away, you’re welcome
You’re all tucked in, the lights dim, you’re welcome
’Cause Maui can do everything but float
Now mommy can unwind and have some wine

You’re welcome! You’re welcome!
You’re welcome! You’re welcome!

And thank you!
And thank you, mom.