The year of 1948 continues to surprise me, as the quality of Disney shorts had begun to slip until this point. 1947’s entries were not that great, and I wondered out loud if the Disney animators were more distracted with the feature film pursuits. Now, though, I see shorts like Inferior Decorator and wonder why things went South in the previous year.
This short is incredibly imaginative and fun, but it is still simple enough to be easy to follow. In it, Donald contends with a less than brilliant bee, who makes the mistake of trying to pollenate a flower on the wallpaper in Donald’s house. The bee starts off the short as a source of amusement for both Donald and the viewer, but as always, things change.
One aspect of this short that is often overlooked in others is the music. Outside of the Silly Symphonies, music isn’t always a big part of the shorts. Here, though, the music sets the mood, tells the story in certain places and drives the narrative forward. The bouncy attitude of the bee is matched by a bouncy attitude. When the bee gets stuck in some glue, the music hums and buzzes with him as he tries to escape. It’s really well done, and makes the short that much more enjoyable.
As mentioned before, though, the tone shifts midway through the short. Donald spends the first half tormenting the bee, trying to get him to embarrass himself further. As things progress, though, Donald ends up getting himself stuck in the wallpaper on the ceiling, leaving himself open to attacks from the bee. The bee ends up in a spot of trouble himself, dealing with a cork on his tail, but eventually manages to free himself to attack Donald. It’s a fun back and forth that makes for a slight racheting up of the tension.
The ending is one of the better comeuppance gags I’ve seen from a Donald Duck short. I won’t spoil it too much, but suffice to say the bee gets his revenge with a little help from his friends. It’s that kind of role reversal and comedy that makes Inferior Decorator so fun. The entire thing made me smile from start to finish, and even giggle out loud for a while. This is one you absolutely must check out.