Saturday Matinee #93: "Daisy's Road Trip" (December 5, 1999)
Published October 13, 2012
by Albert Gutierrez
The classic Disney shorts from Walt's era succeed in many aspects. They've produced some very memorable shorts, enduring characters, and innovative animation. We've seen classic characters emerge such as Chip 'n' Dale, been treated to wonderful one-reel stories like "Brave Little Tailor," and get very impressive sequences in "The Old Mill." Yet even amidst the greatness of these shorts, an area of improvement for Walt-era cartoons would have to be the representation of their female characters. The only one to be consistently represented has been Minnie Mouse, due largely to being Mickey's better half. Early characters like Clarabelle Cow and Clara Cluck would diminish over time, while Daisy Duck never reached the height of success that Minnie ever had. While Minnie acted as de facto owner of Figaro in that cat's short-lived series, she never headlined her own set of shorts. No female character ever did. At least, not until "Mickey Mouse Works" arrived in the late 90's. Suddenly, Minnie and Daisy began headlining their own shorts, having stories independent of Mickey and Donald. One such short was "Daisy's Road Trip," which helped to develop the type of character that Modern Daisy would be.
"Maximum Speed Limit 65. Hear that, Mickey? You're allowed to go 65 miles per hour!"
Mickey Mouse arrives to take Minnie out on a date: a romantic drive to watch a sunset. They are just about to leave when Daisy walks up to Minnie's house. She has nothing planned, and decided to join Mickey and Minnie. While both mice try to hint that they don't want her around, Daisy is blissfully unaware and interprets their words as inviting her. Daisy makes herself comfortable in the backseat of Minnie's car, and the three set off for an uncomfortable road trip.
Daisy decides to pass the time by reading signs aloud, and commenting to Mickey and Minnie about them. One particular sign that she takes delight in reading is advertising for a Broccoli Farm. At every interval showing how close they are to the farm, Daisy's excitement builds up. Sadly... the Broccoli Farm was closed. Daisy's behavior continues to get on Mickey and Minnie's nerves, as she partakes in various backseat antics that bothers them: punch buggy, moving them so she can feel the air conditioning, asking to stop so she can buy various knick-knacks. Hats, bows, perfume, even some nuts. Eventually, Mickey decides to say something about Daisy's behavior. Daisy interprets this as an invitation for her to drive, which she does with lots of gusto, but no consideration for other drivers.
Daisy somehow ends up on telephone wires, on top of other cars, alongside a plane, and in a river. When she's halfway down a waterfall, Mickey and Minnie's pleas annoy her, and she turns around. She finally pulls over and all three get out of the car. Daisy complains about all the inconveniences she's had during this road trip, which finally prompts Mickey to rant. Ranting Mickey is something we rarely see, but he makes his point in various ways: "WE WANT TO BE ALONE!" Daisy, initially steamed, instead decides to let them alone, and she gets in Minnie's car to drive away. Mickey and Minnie, now alone, enjoy the sunset: a billboard ad for Ajax Oranges.
"I got us some nuts!"
When "Mickey Mouse Works" began broadcasting, the lure of new Mickey Mouse shorts on Saturday morning was too great, and I became a dedicated viewer. Plenty of the early shorts during this series became treasured favorites, and I found that most of them involved Daisy. She wasn't often included with the other classic characters - a friend of mine often refers to them as "The Fab Five... and Daisy." Due to my unfamiliarity, Daisy in these shorts is essentially a new character. I didn't remember much about her from the classic era, save for her role as Belle in Mickey's Christmas Carol. The Daisy we get throughout the "Mickey Mouse Works" became representative of that friend that everyone has: slightly annoying, perhaps too self-centered, but because they're our friend, we tolerate them. Plus, Daisy still had some positive aspects. She was always cheerful, even if it only was of interest to her. She had sass, something Minnie rarely had these days. She was the loudmouth who said what's what, without worrying about what others said.
Disney really tried to help incorporate Daisy in "Mickey Mouse Works" and "House of Mouse," although I don't think their attempts worked. "Mickey Mouse Works" first makes her a bit abrasive, which made for interesting shorts, but didn't really mesh well with the rest of the gang. Fortunately, she gets softened up in "House of Mouse," such as in an episode where she and Mickey have a duet, which makes Minnie jealous. Realizing this, Daisy selflessly fakes an injury and asks Minnie to take her place in the duet. This is a far cry from "First you make me sit in the back, and now THIS!" in "Daisy's Road Trip." Still, Daisy has the sass from "Mickey Mouse Works" that made her a breath of fresh air. The Fab Five have been too nice, and Daisy shook them up. She could be annoying at times, but we still loved her.
For example, one of my favorite gags in "Daisy's Road Trip" involves Daisy's continued reading of signs for a Broccoli Farm. She gets excited at every interval, and is noticeably disappointed when they drive past and see it's closed. It's not just Daisy's excitement that is fun to watch in that gag, but Mickey and Minnie's frustration with her. Every time she gets energized, they get more bothered, as evident in the caps and text below:
Oh, look! Broccoli Farm, 50 yards! Don't you just love broccoli?
Broccoli Farm, 25 yards! I love broccoli! Broccoli Farm, 10 yards!
Broccoli, broccoli, broccoli!!! BROCCOLI FARM, 5 YARDS!!!! Oh... they're closed.
I think the main reason I loved the Broccoli Farm gag was because it reminded me of another well-known "build-up-to-nothing" gag. In a fifth season episode of "I Love Lucy" episode - "First Stop" - Lucy, Ricky, Fred, & Ethel are driving to California, where Ricky refuses to stop for food, wanting to get as much driving as possible. Eventually, it gets so late that they decide they might as well eat at Aunt Sally's Pecan Pralines, whose signs they would continually pass on the country roads. As the four get closer and closer to Aunt Sally's, they take turns reading aloud the signs. Soon, they drive past a sign that tells them they've just passed Aunt Sally's. Ricky backs up the car, and they see a small shack on the side of the road. Lucy gets out, and returns just as quickly. Aunt Sally's was closed.
Unfortunately, "Daisy's Road Trip" is not available on DVD. Also, the Broccoli Farm is still closed. But at least we have the sunset...