January 20th, 2012
11:05 AM ET
The start of Girl Scout cookie season has us thinking of two things: One, Samoas will always win in the Caramel deLite vs. Samoa debate, and two, the 1989 classic "Troop Beverly Hills."
Thanks to writer and pop culture guru Erika Brooks Adickman, "TBH" fans can enjoy the interactive "Troop Beverly Hills: The Experience," an event in which sold-out crowds flock to screening parties held in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
And while Adickman tells CNN that she never imagined "Troop Beverly Hills: The Experience" would grow as it has, she did think that she couldn't be the only one who was still a fan of the retro classic.
When she and a group of friends were camping at a cabin in the mountains of California back in 2009, Adickman half-jokingly brought along a copy of "Troop Beverly Hills" in case the gang got snowed-in. Turned out the group was thrilled - and not in an ironic way.
Adickman, who hadn't watched the film in its entirety since a childhood sleepover, found that she and her friends were laughing at the same parts.
"I was really struck by this," she recalled. "I thought, 'No way! There's absolutely no way that we are the only people on the planet who have this relationship with this movie.' I picked up the DVD, looked on the back and realized it was the 20th anniversary, and like a lightning bolt, I thought, 'We have to do something!' "
Plans for "Troop Beverly Hills: The Experience" developed organically.
"I'd been to 'Rocky Horror,'" explained Adickman. "And I found that unless you were really familiar with the event, you got lost. It's just a free-for-all. If you hadn't been to the event, you had no idea what was going on."
So Adickman set out to create a fest where "people who hadn't seen the movie in 15 years [could] pick right back up, but I also wanted people who had seen the movie 100 times to feel like the interactive experience was made just for them."
Adickman gathered a group of like-minded, "Troop Beverly Hills"-loving friends to watch the movie and come up with fun group participation fodder such as trivia (Rosa the maid went on to play Rosario the maid in "Will and Grace"; a pre-"90210" Tori Spelling played one of the rivals of the troop) and dancing ("Do the Freddie").
Adickman then met "Troop Beverly Hills" director Jeff Kanew (who also directed "Revenge of the Nerds") for coffee and told him her idea.
"He thought it was absolutely crazy," said Adickman. Even though Kanew believed no one would show up, he graciously offered to attend the inaugural screening in L.A., and was even able to wrangle appearances by screenwriters involved with the project, the woman who wrote the song "Cookie Time," and one of the most important people on the film - costume designer Theadora Van Runkle (whose previous costume experience included 1967's "Bonnie and Clyde"). Voila! A panel was born.
The screening was packed, and people showed up in costume. Adickman never would have believed that three years later, not only would she still be talking about it, but she'd have five "Troop Beverly Hills: The Experience" events under her
Adickman believes that what brings people to the screenings is the fact that "Troop Beverly Hills" is truly a heartfelt movie. And in a twist from the norm, you're not rooting for the underdog, per se.
"You're rooting for the most privileged, wealthy, lucky girls," exclaimed Adickman. "If it weren't for Phyllis Nefler there would be no Cher Horowitz. There'd be no Elle Woods."
So if those virtual badges you're racking up on Foursquare are giving you a hankering for the real thing, you may want to revisit "Troop Beverly Hills" for a smattering of values like courage, character, and compassion. And we can't forget color, cut, clarity and carat, too; also, Cartier.
It may be camp-y, but the core message resonates to this day: It's OK to let your freak flag fly. Even if your freak flag happens to be an Hermes scarf.
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