Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!"

Not only does Troop Beverly Hills combine a group of rich girls full of entitlement problems with the wilderness, it also showcases Tori Spelling at a ripe young pre-teen age.

As Phyllis Nefler, Shelley Long, a rich, recently divorced, thirty-something mother who spends the majority of her time shopping and indulging herself, decides to take on the job of troop leader to her daughter's recently abandoned wilderness troop. Her troop consists basically of mini- versions of Phyllis. They are spoiled, rich, and feel extremely entitled to just about everything that crosses their paths. Phyllis doesn't realize what she is exactly agreeing to by becoming the troop leader, but she soon finds out!

The girls have little to no experience in wilderness and troop activities. They have earned an embarassing amount of zero badges and aren't really interested in trying to figure out a way to earn more. Phyllis feels bad for the girls and their inability to earn patches through the traditional activities, so she schemes up a way for them to get their own patches. She decides they will make their own patches, a "Create Your Own" patch, which include jewelry appraisal, shopping, grooming, and many other non-wilderness themed patches. The patch ordeal is only the beginning for the socialite girl scouts and their pre-madonna troop leader, which they find out through a series of fabricated challenges by the opposing group leader, Velda Plendor, played by Betty Thomas. Velda runs her troop much like a military troop with intense camp outs in the deep wilderness, training similar to something an army would go through, and serious disciplinary rules and orders. Velda detests Phyllis, perhaps because Velda appears androgynous with her ill-fitting clothing, tightly bound hair, which is always up in her hat, and negative attitude, while Phyllis is perky, blond, and beautiful, with tailored clothing and an upbeat attitude. Velda believes the troop should be disbanded. Velda clearly needs to get a life. This is girl scouts, it is not world war two, her obsession with triumphing over the rich troop is bordering on pathetic if not downright depressing.

Through a series of mishaps and failures, the troop and Phyllis finally come out on top, showing Velda and the other people who doubted them that they aren't just materialistic socialites from Beverly Hills, they have depth. I am not sure how true that part is, but Phyllis does make a transformation into a more tender and loving mother and wife figure, reconciling with her husband and realizing there is more to life than shopping.

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