[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Shopping_mall_5162.jpg]]

A stock {{setting|s}} for any work set in {{suburbia}}, TheMall can be seen as the modernized version of the Main Streets that populate EverytownAmerica. Stores lined up along clean(ish) 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), boutiques and department stores that are out of the price range of the working class but still not luxe enough to be considered "classy", and a food court. [[SoulSuckingRetailJob A job at a mall store]] is usually treated as second only to [[BurgerFool working in fast food]] in the hierarchy of Most Humiliating Jobs for Teenagers. (Bonus points if they work at a [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs fast-food restaurant located in the food court]].) The security guards are all 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.

In older works or in early-mid 20th century {{period piece}}s, a department store is likely to serve the same purpose, albeit in a somewhat more idealized fashion (NostalgiaFilter and all).

The natural habitat of the ValleyGirl and, come Christmas time, the MallSanta, and the destination of choice for a ShoppingMontage. This setting is best portrayed in TheEighties, when malls were at their height, since many malls have since gotten rid of the neon and fountains that were featured in that decade. Although there are still plenty of successful malls that have undergone multi-million dollar renovations to stay on top of the heap, very many are in decline (so-called "dead malls") with competition from "big box" stores and online shopping -- to say nothing of a bad economy and a new generation moving back to the cities in droves. Regardless of their current state, the mall is increasingly looked upon with a sense of nostalgia, and as such, films that either focus on a mall setting, or feature a mall prominently, are beginning to be seen as period pieces.

Compare and contrast BazaarOfTheBizarre, PredatoryBusiness.

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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Comicbooks]]
* ''Comicbook/AmericanFlagg'' is set in the Chicago [=PlexMall=], a TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture Mall-turned-[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcology Arcology]].
* Frequently seen as a setting in ''ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan'' comics. At different points, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson both have sucky mall jobs.
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[[folder:Film]]
* The DuelingMovies ''Film/ObserveAndReport'' and ''Film/PaulBlartMallCop'' were about mall security guards.
* The original ''Film/DawnOfTheDead'' used its mall setting to compare American consumers to zombies.
* The ''Film/DawnOfTheDead2004'' remake was set in a mall however as it was the 2000's and everybody knows what malls are like there is less scenery porn and it plays a smaller part in the story.
* Part of the plot of ''Film/EightLeggedFreaks'' revolves around the mayor having a useless shopping mall built in the town. Part of the climax takes place in said mall.
* ''Film/BadSanta'' is about a crooked MallSanta and his [[ChristmasElves elf assistant]] who rob malls every Christmas.
* In ''Film/NightOfTheComet'', what is one of the first things that [[ValleyGirl Reggie and Sam]] decide to do now that civilization has come to an end? Go on the ultimate mall shopping spree!
* The Creator/RogerCorman-produced sci-fi / {{slasher|Movie}} flick ''Film/ChoppingMall'', in which the robotic security system at a mall [[AIIsACrapshoot malfunctions]] and starts killing the people who snuck in after-hours. Interestingly, stars one of the girls who led up ''Film/NightOfTheComet.''
* ''Film/{{Clueless}}''.
* ''Film/{{Mallrats}}''.
* Shows up in ''Film/MeanGirls''. 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.
* ''Film/BillAndTedsExcellentAdventure'' has a scene in the "San Dimas Mall"
* ''Film/TheBluesBrothers'' 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 (becoming one of the first "dead malls" despite being ''less than a decade old'' at the time of its closure), 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 ''Film/JingleAllTheWay'' has Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger's character seeking the film's CoolToy at Mall of America.
* A key scene in the TalkingHeads film ''Film/TrueStories'' celebrates the suburban shopping mall.
* The Russian film ''A Man with a Guarantee'' has a mall (well, a hypermarket) security guard living at the mall and being everybody's best friend (except the [[MeanBoss mall manager]], employees of a rival chain, and wannabe pickup artists). He ends up being the target of TheBet between the female owner of the mall chain and her FriendlyEnemy rival (she either marries a regular joe at the mall without revealing who she is in a few weeks, or she loses everything). The guard even makes sure to stay as legal as possible. He only eats food that has just passed its expiration date or has a friend of his bring him food. He sleeps in beds at the furniture store and makes them presentable in the morning. The reason for this is (besides saving a fortune on an apartment in Moscow) because [[spoiler:someone, likely a woman, hurt him once, and he has been afraid to leave the safety of the mall and be vulnerable again. He did buy himself an expensive sports car with all the money he saved]].
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[[folder:Literature]]
* The primary setting of ''[[Literature/KeepersChronicles 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 ''Literature/JohnnyMaxwellTrilogy'', where the main characters hang around while complaining that NothingExcitingEverHappensHere. Also the location of the ARNCO store that replaced Arnold Bros Department Store in the ''Literature/NomesTrilogy''.
* The novel ''Literature/NoSafetyInNumbers'' is about a suburban mega-mall in [[UsefulNotes/NewYorkState Westchester County, New York]] that is quarantined after a biological weapon is released inside, trapping thousands of shoppers.
* In Creator/KimNewman's ''Literature/DiogenesClub'' novella "Seven Stars", chapter 5, set TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture reveals that Britain became so fed up of American tourists expecting [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pall_Mall,_London Pall Mall]] to be a shopping centre that they just made it into one.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Robin's song [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF1b1pf9DRY "Let's Go To the Mall"]][[note]]...Today![[/note]] on ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'', which she promoted by touring {{Canada|Eh}}'s malls (a reference to Tiffany; see below). [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U01hsTwtc-c 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.
* In the New Zealand show ''Series/TheTribe'' had most of the lead characters live in a mall and many plots would be about them defending themselves and their knew home from rival tribes. The tribe's name who lived inside the mall? The MallRats, of course.
* ''KickinIt'' revolves around a karate dojo located in a mall.
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[[folder:Music]]
* The derisive term "mallcore" is often used to describe any genre of [[HeavyMetal metal]] music (such as NuMetal, {{metalcore}} and {{deathcore}}) that is perceived as being "[[ItsPopularNowItSucks too mainstream]]." Whether this is a legitimate concern borne out of bad memories of HairMetal, or a case of elitism and snobbery, is [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment an argument best left for another article]].
* [[TheEighties '80s]] pop star Tiffany was famous for her concert tours of shopping malls.
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[[folder:Videogames]]
* Both ''DeadRising'' games are set primarily or partially in malls, as an {{homage}} to [[Film/DawnOfTheDead George Romero]].
* The second stage of ''MonsterMadness: Battle for Suburbia'' takes place in a mall, complete with a ShoutOut to ''Film/DawnOfTheDead'':
-->"I think there's a metaphor for something in all this."
* The "JAYSUUUNNN!!!" level in ''HeavyRain''.
* The ''VideoGame/Left4Dead2'' level "Dead Center" is partly set here.
* The mall is the unique building for the Americans in ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}} IV''. It replaces the supermarket, providing a gold bonus and extra happiness from hit movies, singles, and musicals in addition to the supermarket's food and health bonuses.
* ''VideoGame/DeadSpace2'' has the Concourse, a mall-like section of the Sprawl.
* ''MallTycoon'' is a Sims-like game that allows the player to develop the ultimate shopping mall; a sequel, ''Mall Tycoon 2'', also exists.
* There are many areas in ''SecondLife'' that are basically huge malls.
* The second level of ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsBartVsTheSpaceMutants'' takes place at the Springfield Mall. In order to complete the level, Bart must steal enough hats so that the Aliens can't use them to build their ultimate weapon of destruction. The boss is Mrs. Botz, A.K.A. The Babysitter Bandit.
* ''VideoGame/TopShop'' has players buying properties in many different malls.
* In ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes2DesperateStruggle'', the final stage is set in a highrise whose first few floors are taken up by a shopping mall. Despite the Rank 4 battle set on the roof of a place sometimes called "Guans Shopping Mall," it's actually a supermarket, and the game calls it on the map as a supermarket.
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[[folder:Web Originals]]
* The website [[http://www.deadmalls.com/ Deadmalls.com]] is devoted to chronicling RealLife examples that have fallen on hard times.
* The [[http://lonelymachines.org/mall-ninjas/ "mall ninja" thread]] (which [[PoesLaw may or may not be]] a StealthParody or a {{troll}}) is the stereotypical "tough guy" mall rent-a-cop turned UpToEleven. It has spawned a MemeticMutation among gun enthusiasts, with the term "mall ninja" being used to describe people who buy guns, blades, and "tactical" gear (especially of the AwesomeButImpractical variety), and/or [[MilesGloriosus claim combat expertise far beyond what they actually have]], simply to look {{badass}} and convince others of their badassery.
* ''Roleplay/MallFight'' takes place in a magic mall that is big enough to be an alternate universe all its own. It has whatever store the Fighters wish it to have, as well.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The ''{{Daria}}'' episode "Malled".
* ''{{Sixteen}}'' has the mall as its chief setting.
* A recurring location in ''TheSimpsons''. One episode, it's shown to be deserted.
* The ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Something You Can Do With Your Finger''.
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