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Dripping Disturbance

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"The faucets are dripping in old New York City
The faucets are dripping and oh, what a pity
The reservoir's drying because it's supplying
The faucets that drip in New York"
Malvina Edwards, "The Faucets Are Dripping"

So, the night comes rolling in and it's time to go to bed. You brush your teeth, put on your pajamas, and get all snuggled nice and warm in bed. You then close your eyes and begin to drop off to sleep...


You suddenly hear a loud dripping sound from the bathroom and go to see what it is. You see that the faucet is dripping because you apparently didn't turn it off all the way. Once you turn off the faucet, you go back to bed, but as you get back in the bed, the faucet starts dripping again, even when you turned it off! One of the things that can result in a Do-It-Yourself Plumbing Project.

This is a Comedy trope that can be Played for Laughs or Rule of Funny in any form of media. Expect to see it in Western Animation. Compare Fly Crazy for a situation similar in execution.


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  • In Clinic, the sequences between the old man's nightmares feature a vaguely-ominous dripping sound in the background. At the end of the cartoon, the old man discovers the dripping is coming from his neighbor, who's in even worse shape than he is to the point of being on life support. Desperate for a good night's sleep, the old man turns off the other patient's IV bag and goes back to bed.

    Anime & Manga 
  • At the beginning of the Bount arc in Bleach, Orihime has this before an impostor disguised as her brother shows up and kidnaps her (the rest of the cast also notice it when they search her empty house).
  • In an issue of Area 88 that didn't make it stateside, after he leaves Area 88 and takes up residence in Paris, Shin can't sleep due to a dripping faucet in his apartment. Furious, he sits up in bed and screams at the faucet. This is a decidedly non-comical example, since it is intended to show Shin's psychological disintegration due to war trauma.

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Carry On Behind: On a rainy night, the roof leaks in the caravan shared by Professors Crump and Vooshka, causing water to drip rhythmically into bowls placed on the floor, with accompanying music.
  • In the film musical Chicago, a dripping tap is one of the noises Roxie hears as she tries to get to sleep on her first night in prison. It turns into part of the rhythmic accompaniment to "Cell Block Tango".
  • In My Cousin Vinny, Vinny and Mona are in a hotel room where the faucet in the bathroom is dripping. Vinny goes through an entire set of arguments (he is a lawyer, after all) about how Mona might have not turned it off completely, with Mona countering with legalese. After about ten minutes, Vinny concludes it's just broken. Later, on the stand, Mona is explaining all the reasons that the car Bill and Stan were driving couldn't be the car the perpetrator used in the robbery, each point logically countered by Vinny, but showing the jury the truth to the arguments.

  • In The Famous Five book Five Go To Smuggler's Top, Sooty is kidnapped, and left in a dark underground cave, which is very frightening. One thing he can hear is water dripping somewhere.
  • Showed up in Exile's Valor. Selenay is already having trouble sleeping due to grief over her father's death, and the drip in the royal suite's bathing room isn't helping matters.
  • In the picture book Peace At Last by Jill Murphy, Mr Bear cannot sleep through his wife's snoring, so he tries sleeping in every other place in the house, with no success. In the kitchen, he is disturbed by the leaking tap.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Sounds and Silences", Roswell G. Flemington is disturbed by the sound of water dripping in the middle of the night. This is the first indication that every sound has been magnified.
  • An episode of House has a patient who has been incapable of falling asleep for several days. When we first see her she is in bed, eyes wide open, as the sound of the faucet seems thundering to her.
  • Happens to Karl in Mot i Brøstet. Being Karl, he eventually decides to solve it by dressing up like Rambo and taking a chainsaw to the faucet.
  • Series VII of Red Dwarf features a variant of this in the episode "Duct Soup", in which the clangs and noises of a water pipe in the wall keep Kochanski awake all night and drives her mad, to the point of keeping a record of the noise orders in a notebook. She reaches breaking point when she thinks she's memorized the pattern only for a new noise to appear.
    Kochanski: [twitchy-eyed] It's enough to drive a perfectly sane person crazy!
  • Schitt's Creek: In the second episode, Johnny suffers through a drip in the motel ceiling that eventually starts dripping on his head and messes with his hair. This becomes his Rage Breaking Point.

  • The novelty song "Bloop, Bleep," written by Frank Loesser.
  • "10.15 Saturday Night" by The Cure. I'm sitting/In the kitchen sink/And the tap drips/Drip drip drip drip drip drip drip drip...

    Puppet Shows 
  • In an early episode of Sesame Street, Bert can't sleep because a dripping faucet is keeping him awake, so he sends Ernie to take care of it. But instead of turning off the faucet, Ernie turns on a radio that plays loud music to drown out the dripping. Soon after, instead of turning off the radio, Ernie turns on a vacuum cleaner to drown out the radio. Bert then gets up to deal with all the racket, but by the time he gets back to bed, Ernie's asleep, and snoring! Poor Bert.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Melody, a leaky faucet keeps Becca up at night, and her landlord is dragging his feet about fixing it. If the protagonist decides to step in and fix the faucet, he will get the option to date Becca.

    Western Animation 
  • The Alvin Show episode "Squares" affected this as interpreted to be musical. Mrs. Frumpington is against anything musically modern, and she is annoyed at the sound of what she thinks is a modern beat. Dave clarifies it's just a leaky faucet.
  • The Babaloos: One episode involves the kitchen faucet (suddenly a Babaloo despite having been an inanimate background prop in previous episodes) developing a drip that the Tools from the garage have to fix.
  • The Tex Avery short "Doggone Tired" had this done deliberately by the rabbit, as one of the tactics to keep the hunting dog awake at night.
  • As in the Garfield examples above, the Garfield and Friends episode "Peace And Quiet" also has Garfield annoyed by a dripping faucet while trying to get some rest. He stops it with a cork.
  • The Donald Duck cartoon "Drip Dippy Donald" has Donald being so irritated from the dripping that at one point he hallucinates it's so loud that it makes the whole planet shake, he eventually smashes half of his house trying to stop the drip and then being forced to create a Rube Goldberg Device to have the drip fall somewhere less noisy. When he gets a call from the water company, after many hours of suffering, telling him that they are shutting down the water from lack of payment, Donald's response is one of joy.
  • The animated short from UPA based on "The Tell-Tale Heart" uses a dripping tap as the sound the murderer thinks is his victim's accusing heartbeat.
  • In one House of Mouse cartoon, Mickey lives in an old house where this is one of the many noises that keep him awake.
  • A variant appears in the 1937 Looney Tunes short "Porky's Badtime Story", in which one of the many things keeping Porky Pig and Gabby Goat up at night is rain water dropping from a leaky roof.
    (a deluge of water pours onto the bed)
    • This was later repeated in the remake "Tick Tock Tuckered".
  • The Hey Arnold! episode "Bio-Square" has Arnold and Helga locked in a greenhouse together. The sink they use to brush their teeth starts dripping water, keeping Helga awake all night. She later on loses her temper because of it and yanks the faucet off to stop it, flooding the entire greenhouse with the two of them inside.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: A variant in "Space Madness" where Ren and Stimpy are on a lengthy space mission and go on break for six years... it's clear things won't go well when, within thirty seconds, Ren is driven batty by Stimpy's absently tapping his finger on the tabletop.
    Ren: Do you HAVE to keep TAPPING like that!!! You BLOATED SACK OF PROTOPLASM!!!

    Real Life 
Truth in Television of course, sensitivity to noises is one of the most common things preventing people from getting sleep. Remedies include earplugs and playing white noise to help defuse the annoying sounds.