Scout Out

"Turn to the TV Tropes section of your Fireside Girl Handbooks."

The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts (or "Scouts" and "Girl Guides" in the world outside Eagle Land) are ubiquitous institutions around the world. Almost everyone knows someone who's in them. So, it is no surprise that in the land of fiction that they would appear.

However, there's a problem: The Scouts are trademarked.note 

Thus, rather than bother with obtaining permission, they make a Bland Name version of the Scouts.

Compared to the real life Boy and Girl Scouts, these fictional versions are The Theme Park Version of the groups. All Girl Scouts will only deal with selling cookies (and often be evil) while the Boy Scouts will only do merit badges, often for random and absurd reasons. Sometimes they'll combine the two, and you'll have male and female scouts selling cookies to get merit badges. Boy Scouts also occasionally help old ladies across the street. Usually the Girl Scouts are renamed something involving flowers or other girly thingsnote , and the Boy Scouts are usually renamed something related to wilderness or camping.

There's some Truth in Television to this, as real life alternatives/knockoffs/spinoffs to the Scouts have appeared all over the world.

This trope is particularly common in animation, usually appearing one episode and rarely mentioned again.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Comic Books 
  • In Trinity #12, there's a throwaway gag about how on Anti-Matter Earth the "Bonfire Girls" and "Girl Sentries" are in the third year of their Cookie Wars. Fought with automatic weapons and explosives.
  • This rule does not seem to cover referring to characters as, say, "the big blue boy scout".
    • That probably is because a) he's Superman and b) he's a boy scout, not a Boy Scout (of America).
      • It's entirely possible that Clark joined the Scouts while growing up Smallville.
  • The Junior Woodchucks, in the Donald Duck / Disney Ducks Comic Universe of Carl Barks and his successors, take the "Be Prepared" motto of real-world Scouting into Crazy-Prepared territory. Their Great Big Book of Everything is so universally comprehensive that they eventually evolve into The Illuminati, charged with protecting secrets forbidden to non-initiates.
    • Donald himself was a member of the Little Booneheads (NOT the Little Boneheads) as a lad. Some stories had Donald trying to prove to his nephews that Boonehead training trumped Woodchuck training, usually with disastrous results.
  • Bone's "Tall Tales" anthology book featured the "Bone Scouts" in the stories' Framing Device.
  • Lookouts (a spinoff of the webcomic Penny Arcade) can be summed up as "Boy Scouts in a High Fantasy-style forest realm".
  • Lumberjanes has the Lumberjane Scouts, which are like Girl Scouts, except some of them fight mystical forces.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Up had Wilderness Explorers. Their uniforms are virtually identical to the Boy Scouts' official uniforms, though the colors are different.
    • The Wilderness Explorers apparently weren't satisfied with having just one Nuclear Science badge - two different ones (adorned with a radiation symbol and mushroom cloud, respectively) appear in the New Adventure Book. note 
    • The uniforms being "virtually identical" may be due to preliminary plans to actually make him a Boy Scout; according to this (third message), Disney/Pixar dropped that idea after being reminded about the BSA's membership policies.
  • The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists averts this trope, with the titular pirates disguising themselves as Girl Scouts.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Troop Beverly Hills: A movie about the "Wilderness Girls"
  • "Wilderness Girls" also sell cookies in Loaded Weapon 1.
  • The "Firefly Scouts" sell cookies in the Vin Diesel movie The Pacifier.
  • In the movie Wag The Dog, the scandal that prompts the plot to happen involves a "Firefly Girl" that the President is accused of fondling just fourteen days before election time.
  • In Arlington Road a Scouts-like organization plays an important part in the story.
  • A Girl Scout appears in The Addams Family, trying to sell cookies. Wednesday asks if the cookies contain real Girl Scouts.
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington features the "Boy Rangers."
  • Moonrise Kingdom has the Khaki Scouts.
  • Bushwhacked has the Ranger Scouts. Though interestingly, Ranger Scouts do have the Eagle rank.
  • Inversion: The 2012 Hallmark Channel Movie "Smart Cookies" was made with the backing and endorsement of the Girl Scouts of America. Moreover the movie ended with a brief advertisement for girls to join the GSA.
  • The Big Year briefly features a troop of "Explorers."

     Korean Animation 
Pucca has the Dragon Girls featured in one episode.

    Literature 
  • In Jingo, Carrot creates the Wolf Cubs (so called because Angua is involved), a version of the Cub Scouts. Its very reluctant and embarrassed membership actually comprises two of the nastier kid gangs in the city, who go along with it because when Carrot gets enthusiastic about something, it's very hard to say no.
    • Also Cub Scouts were originally known as Wolf Cubs in the UK.
      • "Wolf" is still one of the ranks in Cub Scouts (the second one, if you don't count the "Tiger Cub" organization for preschool kids).
    • The Ankh-Morpork Scouting And Urban Survival Association becomes more formalised in the squib "Minutes of the Meeting to Form the Proposed Ankh-Morpork Federation of Scouts", and a young dwarf in Raising Steam is a member of the Rat Pack.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events book 10 introduced the Snow Scouts, whose alphabetical parody of the Boy Scout Law holds them to be "accommodating, basic, calm, darling, emblematic, frisky, grinning, human, innocent, jumping, kept, limited, meek, nap-loving, official, pretty, quarantined, recent, scheduled, tidy, understandable, victorious, wholesome, xylophone, young, and zippered."
  • Averted in several stories by Robert A. Heinlein, including the novel Farmer in the Sky, which feature protagonists actively involved in the Boy Scouts, and not a Bland Name version. They were originally published in Boy's Life, the official magazine of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • The Sharing in Animorphs models itself as a sort of combination Boy/Girl Scout group, but they are actually a front group of the Yeerks to make people into Controllers.
  • In Sewer, Gas & Electric, the Boy and Girl Scouts have merged into a single organiation Twenty Minutes into the Future, and have become so urbanized that a troop is shown engaging in a "nature walk" in the slums, taking notes on graffiti and learning about wildlife from a dead mutant rat.

     Live Action TV 
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun had the Beaver Scouts.
  • Friends has the Brown Birds.
  • The Golden Girls had Sunshine Cadets.
  • Family Ties had Sunflower Girls.
  • Disney's That's So Raven had the Sunshine Girls. They show up again in Hannah Montana, another Disney Channel show.
  • The Middleman had the "Wilderness Girls," perhaps as a Shout-Out to Troop Beverly Hills.
  • Drake & Josh featured the Campfire Kids.
  • The Adventures of Pete & Pete had Kreb Scout Monica Perling.
  • The Nanny had the Red Robins.
  • Bones featured the Woodchucks, a Girl Scout-esque group affiliated with the Jeffersonian.
  • Averted in You Can't Do That on Television; on at least one occasion a genuine Canadian Boy Scout uniform was seen.
  • Criminal Minds had the Tadpoles, whose recognizable uniform helped solve a case.
  • The Space Scouts in Red Dwarf.
  • The Brady Bunch had the Frontier Scouts and Sunflower Girls for all of one episode, when Marcia joined Greg's Scout troop to prove that a girl could do anything a boy could do; Greg then forced Peter to join Marcia's Sunflowers (Greg was too old) and sell cookies to prove the other way around. Naturally she succeeds and he fails.
  • In the opening credits to The Odd Couple a scout is seen helping a Little Old Lady across the street; when Felix tries to help her she bats him with her purse, then the scout punches him in the chest.
  • Robin on The Muppet Show once joined the Frog Scouts, whose difference from the Boy Scouts was rather obvious.
  • Corner Gas has no problem with this trope, as the Girl Guides are seen selling cookies in at least one episode.
  • Full House had one, the Honey Bees. Instead of troops, they had "hives". All three Tanner girls, their aunt Rebecca and their mother Pam were members.
  • Averted in an episode of Saved by the Bell, where Zack goes Disguised in Drag to spy on Kelly. When "she" claims to have been a Girl Scout, turns out Kelly was too. She asks him what troop he was in, and he answers "Um.... F Troop?"
  • Played with in The Goodies episode "Scoutrageous"; the organisation Tim is a member of is the Scouts, with full British Scouts uniform (albeit the 1930s version, because it looks funnier) and "dyb dyb dyb" salute, but his rank is Brown Owl, which is from the Brownies (junior Girl Guides). Meanwhile, Graeme and Bill form an evil Scouts movement, which leads to them earning the World Domination merit badge, and Scouting becoming illegal.
  • Spaced has Creepy Twins that look suspiciously similar to UK Guides cleaning the cupboards for 'Bob-a-Job' week in Daisy and Tim's flat. (Despite 'Bob-a-Job' week being a Scout, not Guide, activity that had ceased 10 years previously!)
  • Parks and Recreation has the "Pawnee Rangers" for boys and the "Pawnee Goddesses" for girls, the latter founded by Leslie Knope because girls were not allowed in the former.
  • TJ Hooker had a daughter in the "Girl Rangers."
  • Sabrina on Raising Hope is a former member of the Beaver Scouts (which do exist in the UK, but not in the US where the show originates)
  • On The Middle, Brick joins the Prairie Scouts.
  • Horrible Histories: The Hitler Youth. "It is just like ze scouts... only evil!
  • iCarly had Spencer helping the mother of a Sunshine Girl sell Fudgeballs.
    • The Sunshine Girls also make a small cameo on Victorious.
  • The George Lopez Show had Treetop Rangers instead of Boy Scouts.
  • A variant on Everybody Hates Chris, where Rochelle tries to get the kids into "Hansel and Gretel", a parody of the real life organization Jack and Jill of America, which is a social organization for African-American youth (somewhat similar to Girl/Boy Scouts, but founded at a time when black children wouldn't have been allowed in those organizations), mostly made up of wealthy families.
  • In the episode of Mork and Mindy, when Mork was learning to say 'No', a "Girl scout" (implied but not specified) asks him if he wants to buy some cookies. He emphatically says "No!" and slams the door in her face. When Mindy chastises him for it, he says he didn't want to buy them. Mindy replies, "Nobody wants to but those cookies, but you don't slam a door in a little girl's face." The girl comes busting back in and intimidates him into buying enough cookies to send her to summer camp.
  • "Lazy Scouts," an episode of LazyTown, has the organization by the same name, created by Robbie Rotten, the resident Dastardly Whiplash who wants to keep all the kids in town lazy so he can get some sleep. His idea is that they essentially don't do all of the things you would normally associate with scouting groups.
    Robbie: We'll walk up a mountain, we'll go camping and always play outdoors!
    Ziggy: Really?
    Robbie: Gotcha!

    Music 
  • "The Battle of Kookamonga" by Homer and Jethro.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • Snoopy's "Beagle Scout" troop, in Peanuts.
  • Averted in Calvin and Hobbes, where early strips had Calvin as a member of the Cub Scouts.

     Tabletop Games 
  • In Illuminati, one of the organizations you can try to take over is the "Boy Sprouts".

     Video Games 
  • Psychonauts has the psychopathic "Rainbow Squirts", who try to sell "Rainbow Treats" to everyone.
  • Mentioned a few times in City of Villains, where the evil supervillain dictator sponsors "Spiderling Scouts".
  • Team Fortress 2 has the Saxonettes.
  • Kingdom of Loathing, as of July 2012, has the CSA, which seems to be somewhere between this and an actual paramilitary organization. They have no age limit, which is good as membership is permanent and irrevocable. Their activities include camping, drinking, and something which requires mind control grenades and access to a Kill Sat network.
  • Flipline Studio's online game Steak And Jake features the "Cookie Scouts" in some levels. The company's more famous Papa's Gameria series features Cookie Scout Yippy.
  • Boy and Girl Scouts appear as a class of Trainers in the Pokémon games. They were originally named exactly that in the Japanese versions, but for legal reasons became "Jr. Trainers" in the translations, and eventually became "Campers" for the boys, and "Picnickers" for the girls.

     Web Comics 
  • Air Force Blues: occasionally features youth members of the Civil Air Patrol, who keep insisting that they are part of the Air Force (much to Barbie's ongoing chagrin). In fact, one of the CAP Cadets that Barbie has antagonized in the past turns out to be his fiancee's little brother. The CAP Cadets are of course a case of Truth in Television, though their skillset tends more towards emergency response, as opposed to the Boy Scouts' general-preparedness, wilderness survival, and civic duty angle.
  • The first storyline of P.I. Jane features a female scout organization called the Susie Bees. (Author's note: "The Susie Bee Organization is nothing like the Girl Scouts of America. They are, in fact, completely different. We swear.")

     Websites 

     Western Animation 
  • DuckTales: "Junior Woodchucks", notable because it played a major role in many episodes.
    • And their female counterparts the Junior Chickadees.
  • Kim Possible has "The Pixie Scouts".
    • In a third season episode called Bonding, the titular heroine reveals that she herself was a Pixie Scout at one point and that Mr. Barkin, a teacher at Middleton High School, acts as a den mother to a troop of Pixie Scouts in Middleton (or "Brigadier Pixie" as he calls it).
  • Phineas and Ferb has the "Fireside Girls", who are pictured above. Like the Junior Woodchucks, They come prepared for any situation, they have a handbook for various subjects from Car Maintenance to Time Travel Machine Repairing and accomplishment patches for absurd tasks such as Alligator Wrestling and moving mountains with their bare hands.note  They also subvert a lot of the elements described: they're not named after anything particularly girly, they aren't evil, and they appear frequently in the series.
  • Doug had the "Bluff Scouts".
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy had the "Person Scouts".
    • Before becoming a series of its own, Evil Con Carne had one episode featuring a girl troop named "Terror Troop". They were so evil Hector Con Carne invited them to join the League of Destruction.
  • The Mighty B! featured the "Honeybee Scouts". Several other groups make minor appearances.
  • Everyone in Camp Lazlo is one of these, the boys are the "Bean Scouts" and the girls were the "Squirrel Scouts".
    • Averted in the Italian dub, which uses "Boy Scout" and "Girl Scout" without any problem.
  • The Emperor's New Groove has the "Junior Chipmunks", they taught you how to talk to squirrels.
  • The Flintstones had the Cave Scouts, who all decided to go camping at the same site that Fred and Barney decided to camp at.
  • Partially averted in The Jetsons when Elroy's Space Cub Scout pack went to the Moon.
  • Averted completely in Yogi Bear: it specifically mentioned the Boy Scouts all met for a jamboree at Jellystone Park.
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi featured the "Tapeworm Scouts".
  • Hey Arnold! had the "Campfire Lasses", who all had Scottish accents to go with their name.
    • Despite mostly being an all-girl organization in most episodes, they seem to not have a problem with allowing boys in. In the "Chocolate Turtles" episode Arnold and Gerald pretended to show interest in joining in order to buy their turtles at a discount member price. Before their secret was blown the leader of the group was more than enthusiastic to have the boys join and referred to them as "Campfire Lads".
  • Jackie Chan Adventures had Jade join both the "Buttercup" (girl) and "Dragon" (boy) Scouts.
    • Jackie once supervised Jade's troop. (The first one)
    • Three of the Dragon Scouts are Frank (Finn's nephew), Charlie (Chow's nephew) and Rocco (Ratso's nephew).
  • Fillmore! had the "Red Robins", who happened to be crooked.
  • The Simpsons had the "Junior Campers".
    • Lampshade Hanging: the Junior Campers meeting room has a sign on the door saying "Not affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America".
    • Another episode had a rivalry between two such groups, the American Indian-themed Pre-Teen Braves and the Cavalry Kids. The Junior Dandies made a brief cameo as a rival to both groups when they competed for the title of honorary ball boys for a baseball game.
    • A "Radioactive Man" episode had The Scoutmaster (with his boy minions) as a villain, who talked like Paul Lynde.
  • Recess had the Woodchuck Scouts. Slightly subverted in that Phil the Scout wears what appears to be a normal Boy Scout uniform, and is a frequently recurring character.
  • Exo Squad had ExoScouts, who were actually much like military cadets than scouts.
    • Noteworthy if only because they were a scout troop using their scout skills to survive in the mountains due to the less-than-friendly Neo Sapiens having conquered Earth.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy had the Urban Rangers.
  • The Oblongs had the Little Amazons.
  • South Park had the Mountain Scouts. And, in one episode, we saw the Jew Scouts and Squirts, who all meet for Jewbilee and make simple crafts to honor Moses.
  • Rocko's Modern Life had the Weasel Scouts.
  • The Fairly Oddparents had the Squirrely Scouts. Timmy's dad was a scoutmaster who had the high rank of "flying squirrel" (Ground squirrel was mentioned as a lower rank). They also have a Distaff Counterpart in the Creampuffs. Timmy's babysitter was the Scout Mistress (at least in Oh Yeah! Cartoons) until that position was given to his mother (what caused Vicky to step down from her position was unknown).
  • Franklin had the Woodland Trailblazers, which weren't introduced until the program's final season.
  • The Bunny Scouts in Max and Ruby.
  • King of the Hill had the Order of the Straight Arrow (the Boy Scouts have an honor society called Order of the Arrow). Later, it was mentioned in passing that Hank had been a Boy Scout.
    • One episode featured a girl group selling cookies and trying to Strong arm competition (a.k.a. Bobby) out of the cookie selling business.
  • The Problem Solverz has the Little Explorers.
  • The Backyardigans has the episode "Pablor and the Acorns", in which Tyrone, Tasha, and Austin were Acorn Scouts.
  • Averted in The Boondocks, with Cindy being a member of a Girl Scout troop. She also defends her turf drug-runner style....
  • Transformers Rescue Bots has the Lad Pioneers.
  • Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot has the "Cub Bouts."
  • Chowder has the Apprentice Scouts.
  • One of Futurama's completely different episodes, Naturama, averts this trope; Grrr (a bear version of Lrrr) is chastised by his wife for filling up on salmon; when he protests, she shouts "That's what you said after you ate all those Boy Scouts!"
  • Bob's Burgers has the "Thundergirls".
  • Johnny Bravo has the Buttercup Scouts, of which Susie is a member.
  • In one episode of Sofia the First, she is also a member of the Buttercups, who wear a bizarre combination of Girl Scout uniform and princess dress.
  • Some episode of The Little Mermaid show Sebastian leading a pack of "crab scouts".
  • Kid vs. Kat had the Greeny Girls.

    Real Life 
  • Soviet Young Pioneers, anyone?
  • Die Hitler Youth, of course.
  • Camp Fire is a rival organization to the both Scouting organizations in the U.S., and has been around since literally weeks after the start of the Boy Scouts. It was originally created specifically as a Distaff Counterpart to the Boy Scouts (called the Camp Fire Girls), but went gender-inclusive in the 1970s; about half of its membership is boys these days. A lot of people still only know it as "Campfire Girls."
  • There are a number of other similar youth groups in America, both secular and religiously based.
  • While there is no equivalent trademark in Poland, situation regarding scouts is pretty much crazy, with multiple major organizations, being relatively friendly towards each other but differing in some rules. They are still more similar to each other than to international scouts, though, due to very weird utilization of scouts during complex Polish history.
  • Israel has several youth movements that like to poke fun at each other, including the Scouts. Unlike the US, these movements are generally not segregated by sex.