There’s really no comparing the Americana at Brand to the Glendale Galleria. One is a pristine capitalist playground filled with Bellagio fountains, vintage trolley cars, and Bose speakers embedded in lamp posts. The other is a classic indoor establishment that feels like a throwback to simpler times, when the mall was a refuge from the outdoors and shops like Aéropostale and Claire’s reigned.
The friendly rivalry between the two shopping destinations grew delightfully bizarre over the past week when meme accounts devoted to both malls began trading shots over their respective amenities. While plenty of brands now try to speak in an authentic, Internet-y parlance, to varying degrees of success, this particular meme battle resonated among mall-goers in the Southland because it felt way too weird to have come out of the braintrust of Rick Caruso or Brookfield Properties:
— dan faughnder (@sleddingxtigers) June 7, 2019
— The Americana At Brand Memes (@americanamemes) May 24, 2019
— Glendale Galleria Memes (@GalleriaMemes) June 6, 2019
Hell Yeah! People would rather go to a cemetery than go to The Galleria! pic.twitter.com/ELDQEpcjbh
— The Americana At Brand Memes (@americanamemes) June 4, 2019
And it’s not just the Galleria that’s entered into the fray. According to the creator of the Americana at Brand Memes, who wishes to remain anonymous, pages belonging to peers Burbank Town Center and the Third Street Promenade, have sprouted up in the weeks since he first created his hyper-specific ode to the Americana. “I have no idea who started them,” he says. “It’s kind of funny that I’m trying to find out who they are just as they’re trying to find out who I am.”
With a few exceptions, the new accounts pale in comparison to what Americana Memes has achieved thus far by relying on obscure local knowledge, pop culture deep cuts, and a true obsession with Southern California mall culture. That’s due, in no small part, to the creator’s abiding fascination with other hyper-targeted meme accounts.
“There was an account I used to follow that was just memes for movie theater employees: one was about what to do with the popcorn when people are done with it, and another was about what to do when yahoo.com has the wrong movie times,” he said. “It was just very, very specific things that only movie theater employees would get.”
After noticing that a town in upstate New York had created its own meme page devoted to prosaic experiences—like walking along a busy intersection or going to a local bar—he realized he could transform activities at the Americana into their own memes.
In a meta-twist, he also turned the memes into a real life, intentionally lame pop-up called “The Americana At Brand: The Experience” at Bugcon, a parody of Comic-Con that takes place in Burbank every year. (It featured a Cheesecake Factory waitlist the length of a CVS receipt, a selfie wall of the Americana’s exterior composed of 160 inkjet prints, and a cardboard Sprinkles ATM that exclusively sold $200 red velvet cupcakes.)
Come visit The Americana At Brand: The Experience At #Bugcon!
-Watch a video of the Fountain Show!
-Take a selfie in front of The Americana
-See The Cheesecake Factory Menu
-See the Cupcake ATM
-Put Your Name on The Cheesecake Factory Waitlist
-Recreate A Famous Meme pic.twitter.com/ekdKDMad0K
— The Americana At Brand Memes (@americanamemes) June 8, 2019
Why build such elaborate shrines—both digital and IRL—to all things Americana?
“I live just down the street in Glendale and I’m probably there at least once a week, if not multiple times a week,” he says. “I call it a free Disneyland—you’ve got the trolley, the fountain, and the lawn is always pristine. I kind of crave the artificiality of it all. It’s like a cheap candy bar—you know it’s not real chocolate but you still crave it. It’s hard to get that anywhere else.”