Troop Beverly Hills is a 1989 film starring Shelley Long
as Phyllis Neffler, a ditzy
Beverly Hills socialite
with a marriage on the rocks, her husband seeking divorce over her profligate spending habits and inability to follow through with anything.
Phyllis' most recent project is to take over as troop leader of the Girl Scout-esque "Wilderness Girls"
of the Beverly Hills chapter, which is a paltry eight-girl ensemble including Phyllis' own daughter Hannah and other girls of wealthy Beverly Hills backgrounds. Her contributions include taking the troop out "roughing it" in a hotel suite rather than a campground (to avoid all the bugs and a lack of electrical outlets), taking the traditional uniform to a fashion designer for improvements, and awarding her charges patches for skills such as "jewelery appraisal" and "Gardening with glamor".
All of this earns her the ire of Wilderness Girls district leader Velda Plendor, who takes the "wilderness" aspect very seriously
and sees Phyllis as an affront to everything the group stands for. Velda pulls out all the stops to get Phyllis discredited and fired, but even in situations her money can't buy her out of, Phyllis perseveres through a little ingenuity and sheer pluck
. It all leads to a showdown at the annual jamboree, where Troop Beverly Hills will compete against Velda's Culver City Red Feathers, trekking through actual wilderness in a race to the finish where the winners will be the Wilderness Girls' poster troop for the year...
This film provides examples of:
- Animated Credits Opening: The film's opening was animated by Spumco, John K's independent studio.
- Anticipatory Breath Spray: The officer who demonstrates CPR on Phyllis.
- Avoid The Dreaded G Rating: Uses of the word "bitches" and "shit".
- Becoming the Mask: Annie, who does a Heel Face Turn from being The Mole into a genuine friend of the troop.
- Bland Name Product: The Wilderness Girls is a common fiction stand in for the Girl Scouts.
- Boomerang Comeback
Velda: Oh, I'll tell you about the buttons, you senile old bag.
Mrs. Temple: I may be old, and I may be senile. The only thing that's bagged around here is you. You're fired!
- The Cameo: By a bunch of Real Life people who lived in Beverly Hills at the time.
- Cruella to Animals: Velda actually kills a wild skunk, and then wears it as a hat, for indirectly making her troop lose the first competition.
- Dartboard of Hate: Velda gets one for Phyllis.
- Divorce Is Temporary: Fred sees Phyllis's dedication to the scout troop, and realizes she is not so "flighty" after all.
- The Eighties: Tail end of it — in fact, the competition is to be the poster troop of 1990.
- Expy: The parents of the other girls in the titular troop include a retired boxer, two out-of-work actors and an exiled dictator. You can probably make some guesses as to exactly whom each one represents.
- Faux Horrific: Phyllis's story about getting an awful perm.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Done deliberately and played for laughs in the scene where Phyllis is apparently "drunk" on Evian water.
- Heel Face Turn: Annie.
- Hypocritical Humor: "The parents in this neighborhood are so self-involved... oh shit, I broke a nail!"
- Idle Rich
- Indecisive Parody: Roger Ebert's review paints it as such with regards to Beverly Hills sensibilities. It could be seen as an Affectionate Parody, though.
- I Resemble That Remark:
Fred: You'll be less neurotic with your parents happily divorced rather than unhappily married.
Phyllis: Thank you, Phil Donahue.
Fred: I saw it on Oprah!
- Ironic Echo / Humiliation Conga: Velda threatens Annie over her having to go back working at K-Mart if she doesn't cooperate. Then Velda is forced to work there after she gets fired from the Wilderness Girls, including saying the very line she threatened Annie with.
- It Came From Beverly Hills
- Merit Badges For Everything: Phyllis does come up with many merit badges for her troop to earn, such as "gardening with glamor" and "jewelry appraisal," but they are actually stripped of them for being "illicit" and having "nothing to do with wilderness ways as [Velda] knows them or anyone else in their right mind knows them".
- The Mole: Annie starts as one, but her sympathies shift to the side she's "spying" on when it becomes clear to her that Velda's dislike for Phyllis is rooted in spiteful, petty competitiveness.
- Parental Abandonment: Cheeka's parents, who not only can't make it to the patch ceremony but forget her birthday to take a trip to Monte Carlo.
- Plucky Girl: In spades.
- Pretty in Mink: Phyllis wears a white mink coat to her troop's first outing. It does get dirtied by rain and mud.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Velda's superior is this trope through and through, in stark contrast to Velda herself.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense
- Road Sign Reversal: The Red Feathers pull this one at the jamboree. Due to the above mentioned skunk, this still wasn't enough to win the competition.
- Serious Business: Fashion! Cookies! SHOPPING!
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Annie, even with Values Dissonance making it look silly today.
- Shout Out: "Patches... we don't need no stinking' patches!"
- Shrinking Violet: Annie.
- Smug Snake: Velda.
- Sore Loser: Velda takes the Red Feathers' disqualification from the race (they crossed the finish line first without a troop leader), Troop Beverly Hills being the actual winners (even though they did stop to help her) and her own termination from the Wilderness Girls very, very badly (see also: Villainous Breakdown).
- Spoiled Sweet: Phyllis and all her girls, saving perhaps Cheeka.
- Start My Own: Velda's angry rant at the end.
- The Stinger: Velda working at K-Mart at the end. See Ironic Echo.
: Attention K-Mart shoppers. Blue light special, aisle 13. *beeeep
- Vanity Is Feminine: Generally used in a "positive" sense, such as Annie's Heel Face Turn being accompanied by a new, more flattering wardrobe. Phyllis and her girls are vain and sympathetic, while Velda is masculine and has her unattractiveness made fun of.
- Villainous Breakdown: Velda's sanity is sorely tested during the big race. When she loses the race and her own team is disqualified from it, she ravingly makes it clear to everyone that she is a Sore Loser and throws insults at the councilwomen for recognizing Troop Beverly Hills. This gets her fired from the Wilderness Girls, which breaks her down even further (see Start My Own above).
- Worst Aid: Phyllis grabs the first aid instructor when he uses her to demonstrate mouth-to-mouth. Textbook straight play of "romantic CPR".