Cigars… vapes… cookies…
I really wouldn’t mind a sequel to the 1989 Shelley Long vehicle Troop Beverly Hills. The most cherished movie of my childhood is no cinematic masterpiece, so this would hardly be sacrilege. I figure if this is really gonna be the film most often running through my head like a skunk on a misdirected trail (oh, the shame!), the story may as well continue. So sack up, hobos, and pour some wine into that stew: It’s cookie time. Again.
We can’t go full-on original cast here — there’s a fresh crop of Disney/ABC Family stars who need to get camping — but I think the central plot (Troop Beverly Hills vs. the Red Feathers in the wilderness) does need to be similar. The sequel would primarily follow Hannah Nefler as she returns to L.A. following the collapse of her gymnastics studio (they actually tried to film a reality series there, but it didn’t Make It). She decides to get back to her patchy roots and has a moment of clarity with an acoustic guitar atop her favorite balance beam log in the forest: She should lead a Wilderness Girls troop!
Hannah gets the job easily due to nepotism — her mom Phyllis is the director now, still toiling away in khaki couture after her husband Freddy (Craig T. Nelson) fell on some hard times in the past two decades. We all knew poor Nefler’s Mufflers wouldn’t survive the economic collapse. But in a twist, Hannah can’t lead her original troop. Remember Jamie, the silent sidekick to Velda Plendor’s bullying daughter Cleo? (Cleo’s out of the picture; no one cared about her.) As it turned out, once Jamie dyed her hair blonde and everyone realized she was Tori Spelling, she got to take over Troop Beverly Hills, where she’d really belonged the whole time. Over the years Tori has upheld the troop’s signature materialistic values — with more of-the-moment rewards such as the Selfie From Above Patch, the Nicorette Patch, the Emoji-Only Patch, and the Destroy Your Own Cutoffs Patch. She also makes them camp out at this weird inn she runs with her husband Dylan McDermott. None of the girls can stand her, particularly her own green juice-obsessed daughter, Cardamom (Shailene Woodley).
So Hannah (Jenny Lewis, cool-girl vocalist for Rilo Kiley, the Postal Service, and her own solo career) must lead her old nemeses, a barely awake gaggle of local teenage burnouts called the Red Feathers (head bitch in charge: Pretty Little Liars‘ Ashley Benson). To be honest, Hannah’s not super into it, but then again no one really is because they’re just on their iPhones the whole time. There’s some sort of major conflict during the big race through the woods (watch out for the medical marijuana smoke monster!), but eventually the tribes merge when all the girls decide they’d rather be at Coachella — and in the dead zone of summer, Hannah’s low-rent campfire singalongs featuring faux-Native American costuming is probably the closest they’re gonna get. By the end, everyone channels the true spirit of the California wilderness: somewhat haunting indie rock.
Imagine the soundtrack!
OBVIOUSLY Jenny Lewis would never do this. But whatever, let’s just pretend. Also obvious: I have no idea how to set up a movie. This is just how I imagine things playing out. Please help me construct a much better sequel in the comments. The bottom line is that I think there’s so much campy magic in TBH that can still apply today. So why not? Girl power!
Other possible stinkin’ patches of plot:
–Velda Plendor should probably be recast as Jane Lynch, or Jane Lynch can be Velda’s new rival: an overzealous checkout lady at Kmart, where Velda tragically still works.
–Carla Gugino cameo. I don’t care how, just do it. Perhaps the original troop members gather every year for Chica’s birthday? Someone needs to remember it. Her parents. Are in Monte Carlo!
–Tessa DiBlasio (Heather Hopper, of Good Morning, Miss Bliss fame) is now Phyllis Nefler’s psychologist. She took her on pro bono just for the chuckles.
–In a wistful flashback, the original troop reprised The Freddie at Annie Herman and Cheech’s wedding.
–The annual Wilderness Girls Jamboree is threatened when a new gluten-free cookie-manufacturing titan (Kirstie Alley) sets her romantic sights on Coach — and refuses to support the troops until he agrees to tune up her car at Pep Boys for free … with her in it!
–Hannah now drinks Fiji water instead of Evian Natural Spring to maintain the illusion that she didn’t completely turn into her mother.
–SPOILER ALERT: The medical marijuana smoke monster in the woods is later revealed to be Bela Karolyi.
What would you want to see in a TBH sequel, just for fun? And what could possibly replace the climactic moment at the end of Shelley Long’s classic ghost story: “HE PERMED ME!”? I’m thinking something about choosing the wrong filter in Instagram (“He Toastered me”?) but now I’m just embarrassed. Like, more than ever.
Update: THE Jenny Lewis just read this and tweeted “never say never!” OMG OMG OMG.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Jeff Kanew, who directed Troop Beverly Hills, has responded! They’re both kidding…right?