Beyond the Bitch: Troop Beverly Hills

Beyond The Bitch
by Caitlin Tegart

Photo by Melissa Gomez

In comedies, women are often the girlfriend, the wife or the bitchy friend of the girlfriend or wife (Leslie Mann, God bless you, you’ve worn all the hats). But there was a time when women did some seriously kooky shit in movies and got the be the funny, flawed, active idiot all the guys get to play. So let’s take a look at these movies and aspire to reach their level of kookiness.

It doesn’t get more kooky or lady than a movie about Girl Scouts. Er, I mean, the Wilderness Girls. Which is totally different. Shelly Long plays Phyllis Nefler (how they came up with this character name, I don’t know, but thank God they did), a Beverly Hills socialite in a messy divorce, a Camille Grammer for olden times, if you will. And you will. Phyllis handles the divorce as many super unnatural-looking red heads do: she volunteers to lead her daughter’s Wilderness Girl Troop. Did I mention her daughter is played by indie music darling Jenny Lewis and her husband is played by “Coach” Craig T. Nelson?
Take whatever time you need to recover from that and then proceed.
OK, welcome back. Despite their riches, Troop Beverly Hills is faltering because, like, their parents don’t love them and their activities are boring! And this troop includes Kellie Martin, Carla Gugino, Harriet from Small Wonder and Nikki from Good Morning, Miss Bliss. So this ain’t a group of idiots, OK? If there was a rat pack for syndicated 80s television this would be it and their mob ties would have run real, real deep. Anyway, Phyllis, being that she’s a major genius, thinks of badges that these Wilderness Girls could earn – like jewelry appraisal and wilderness fashion shows.
It all sounds great and let me tell you: it is. Except in the eyes of Velda Plendor (boo!) who runs the Culver City Red Feathers and hates Beverly Hills! (Yes, this is a class conflict movie in which you’re supposed to root for the rich people. It was the 80s.) Velda sends her dopey assistant Annie to spy on Troop Beverly Hills, ending in the removal of the Troop’s (kinda)-hard-earned badges just because they were earned through unsanctioned, superficial activities!
I think we all know this is gonna end in a jamboree where the troops actually have to survive a wilderness race. Despite Velma’s confidence in the Red Feathers, she sabotage’s Troop Beverly Hills with the help of Tori Spelling. Yep, your read that right: with the help of Tori Spelling. If I could change bodies with one person, it would be the casting director of this movie, so I could experience true genius. But things backfire on ole Velma when she sprains her ankle and Tori and the gang leave her to die in the wilderness, forcing Troop Beverly Hills to rescue her with wilderness skills they’ve somehow acquired.
Even though the Red Feathers cross the finish line first, without their leader, they’re disqualified! So … TROOP BEVERLY HILLS WINS!
And Craig T. Nelson takes Phyllis back because that’s how Craig T. Nelson rolls. Velma has to work at K-mart. She’s poor: haha.
Beverly Hills, what a thrill.

About caitoradecomedy

Comedian and comedy writer. Getting Stuff done.
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