Okay, so “canon” is a weird concept at the best of times when it comes to Disney shorts. Does anyone actually care if Donald’s nephews are children or teenagers from one short to the next? (Answer: Yes. Some people care intensely.) That said, this—the last Golden Age appearance of Huey, Dewey, and Louie, the penultimate Golden Age appearance of Daisy—simply cannot be canon. There’s just no way. Never mind that the whole of it is narrated in the mellifluous tones of Leslie Denison claiming to be Donald; we do hear Clarence Nash in the role in what we actually see happen. Denison’s the unreliable narrator, and we’ll get into that in a bit. But what we see makes it simply impossible for this to be any kind of “truth” for Donald and Dasiy.
Indeed Donald writes the whole story in his diary. We see Daisy lay a trap, quite literally, for him to catch his attention. They court. He meets her family—he seems to have none. The one day, it seems clear to the pair that Donald will be proposing. However, Daisy just needs to “powder her nose,” by which she means “she is just getting into the shower.” Donald is waiting for her so long that he falls asleep, and he dreams of what their life will be when they marry. It’s awful. Daisy lets herself go immediately, and her family is even worse than they were already seen to be.
Look, let’s get this out of the way right now—this is a pretty appalling short. The bit about how Daisy’s literally laying traps to get Donald to notice her because he’s just too oblivious is fine, I guess. But when Donald walks in the door, Daisy’s mother seems to look him up in Dun & Bradstreet. Her “brothers,” played here by Donald’s nephews, take money from Donald. In the dream sequence, so does Daisy. She sets a trap for him so she can live an easy life on his money. She’s seen as pretty and full of feminine wiles—until she’s married, at which point she’s shown first thing in the morning with her . . . feathers in curlers? I think that’s what that’s supposed to be. And she’s smoking, which we’d never seen her do. But mostly, it’s the money thing.
What’s more, Donald is so persuaded by what we must remember is a literal dream sequence that he runs away from Daisy—and joins the French Foreign Legion, which will take him away from all women. Sure, he seems to have been happy as a bachelor (in what appears to be San Francisco, and that’s a whole other conversation), and he gets in the relationship because Daisy trapped him, but he does get in the relationship. Willingly. And he seems mostly happy.
It’s hard to say anything in particular about the “reality” of this short, because we’re getting this out of Donald’s diary. Leslie Denison is telling us an idealized version of the events. Is that closer to the truth? Is the version we see the truth? Does it matter? It’s a freakin’ Donald Duck cartoon. And I have to say, I like the choice of going with an unreliable narrator in a Donald Duck cartoon. There’s a lot of opportunities for fun there. This short isn’t it.
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