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A stock Settings for any work set in Suburbia, The Mall can be seen as the modernized version of the Main Streets that populate Everytown, America. Stores lined up along clean hallways populated by teenagers, parents with kids, and elderly people who have little better to do than walk around the mall all day. Will usually have a movie theater, a central meeting place (often with a fountain), and a food court. A job at a mall store is usually treated as second only to working in fast food in the hierarchy of Most Humiliating Jobs for Teenagers (bonus points if they work at a fast-food restaurant located inside a mall). The security guards will often be depicted as guys who washed out of (or were rejected from) basic training or the police academy, have an inflated sense of entitlement, and have nothing better to do than harass our heroes over trivial matters.
Like its close cousin, Suburbia, the sterility of malls has often been used for the purposes of social commentary, satirizing the corporatization and consumerism of American society, and has frequently been employed as a symbol of mainstream conformity (especially in youth-focused works) and the destruction of the "little man" by big chain stores.
The natural habitat of the Valley Girl and, come Christmas time, the Mall Santa. This setting is best portrayed in The Eighties, when malls were at their height, since many malls have since gotten rid of the neon and fountains that were featured in that decade and are decline with competition from box stores.
- The Dueling Movies Observeand Report and Paul Blart: Mall Cop were about mall security guards.
- The original Dawn of the Dead used its mall setting to compare American consumers to zombies.
- Valley Girl.
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
- Part of the plot of Eight Legged Freaks revolves around the mayor having a useless shopping mall built in the town. Part of the climax takes place in said mall.
- Bad Santa is about a crooked Mall Santa and his elf assistant who rob malls every Christmas.
- In Night of the Comet, what is one of the first things that Reggie and Sam decide to do now that civilization has come to an end? Go on the ultimate mall shopping spree!
- The Roger Corman-produced sci-fi/Slasher Movie flick Chopping Mall, in which the robotic security system at a mall malfunctions and starts killing the people who snuck in after-hours.
- Shows up in Mean Girls. Janis works at a Bath & Body Works-type place, and Cady compares the behavior of the teens hanging out at the fountain to that of the wild animals she grew up alongside in Africa.
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure has a scene in the "San Dimas Mall"
- The Blues Brothers drive through a mall, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. This was a real mall (Dixie Square Mall) that closed in 1978 because it was in a high-crime, low-income suburb, and the producers set up fake storefronts in it. 30+ years later, the building was still (barely) standing before finally getting torn down in 2012.
- A scene in Jingle All the Way has Arnold Schwarzenegger's character seeking the film's Cool Toy at Mall of America.
- The primary setting of Long Hot Summoning, although it's significantly weirder than most malls since it's slowly being turned into a portal to another dimension.
- The Neil Armstrong Shopping Centre, Blackbury in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, where the main characters hang around while complaining that Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here. Also the location of the ARNCO store that replaced Arnold Bros Department Store in the Nomes Trilogy.
- Robin's song "Let's Go To the Mall" on How I Met Your Mother, which she promoted by touring Canada, Eh?'s malls (a reference to Tiffany; see below). She cites this as the reason she has an aversion to malls, mentioning how she spent a year living on a diet of Orange Julius and Wetzel's Pretzels.
- Lucy Camden on 7th Heaven is obsessed with the mall as a young teenager, particularly in a season 2 episode where she says she would live in the place if she could.
- The derisive term "mallcore" is often used to describe any genre of metal music (such as Nu-metal, Metalcore and Deathcore) that is perceived as being "too mainstream." Whether this is a legitimate concern borne out of bad memories of Hair Metal, or a case of elitism and snobbery, is an argument best left for another article.
- '80s pop star Tiffany was famous for her concert tours of shopping malls.
- Both Dead Rising games are set primarily or partially in malls, as an Homage to George Romero.
- The second stage of Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia takes place in a mall, complete with a Shout-Out to Dawn of the Dead:
"I think there's a metaphor for something in all this."
- The "JAYSUUUNNN!!!" level in Heavy Rain.
- The Left 4 Dead 2 level "Dead Center" is partly set here.
- The mall is the unique building for the Americans in Civilization IV.
- Dead Space 2 has the Concourse, a mall-like section of the Sprawl.
- The website Deadmalls.com is devoted to chronicling Real Life examples that have fallen on hard times.
- The "mall ninja" thread (which may or may not be a Stealth Parody or a Troll) is the stereotypical "tough guy" mall rent-a-cop turned Up to Eleven. It has spawned a Memetic Mutation among gun enthusiasts, with the term "mall ninja" being used to describe people who buy guns, blades and "tactical" gear (especially of the "flashy, but useless" variety) simply to look Badass.
- Mall Fight takes place in a magic mall that is big enough to be an alternate universe all its own. It has whatever store the Fighter's wish it to have, as well.
- The Daria episode "Malled".
- Sixteen has the mall as its chief setting.
- A recurring location in The Simpsons. One episode, it's shown to be deserted.
- The South Park episode "Something You Can Do With Your Finger.
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