The gag of having Donald unable to fall asleep because of some external stimuli is not a new one. It’s been done a few times, in a myriad of settings. Honestly, though, it seems to work every time. In the case of Drip Dippy Donald it works beautifully, as the short encapsulates the experience perfectly with just the right amount of hyperbole mixed with realism.
This really is the exact kind of thing that Donald excels at, and the animators put him through his paces in this short. He is in bed when a light shines through the window to keep him up, but that problem is really just a set up for the real one. The dripping faucet in Donald’s kitchen is the real irritant and the source of the title.
The fun of this is seeing the various ways that the dripping faucet causes Donald to go nuts. It really is like Chinese water torture as the drips keep making noise, and the noise keeps getting magnified. From dripping into a bowl of water to dripping onto a spoon that rattles the other dishes, it’s a scenario that I imagine a large number of viewers could relate to. I know it’s happened to me before.
Where this short turned from run of the mill Donald fun to brilliance for me was when we started getting the hyperbole. The drips of the faucet go from a normal perspective to one that looks like the water is falling from miles above. The rattling dishes seem to shake the entire house. The drips turn from harmless water into huge bombs. It’s an amazing sequence that shows how these things can grow in your mind, but does so without going off the deep end of surrealism.
Even more fun comes at the end, as Donald sets up an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine to catch the water. He gives in at the end, but is literally saved by the bell in a nice twist that I will not ruin. Donald is frayed, anxious and a little out of his mind. That’s when he works the best, and it’s why this short works so well.