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Good Grove/Bad Grove - World's Most Pointless Trolley Edition
We've heard all the griping about the trolley at the Grove, and we can't disagree with any of it. It barely runs one city block. It disrupts foot traffic. It's full of gleefully shrieking, digital picture-snapping tourists who look like, sound like and most likely are complete idiots. What's the point of a trolley whose functional value is pretty much zero? There may as well be a 400-foot-tall bellydancing octopus in the middle of the Grove. But then again, when you think about it, a 400-foot-tall bellydancing octopus would actually be kind of cool.This city was built on a combination of creativity and stupidity, and few landmarks capture that spirit better than the Grove's terminally tongue-lashed, two-tiered transport vehicle. It's bizarre, it's asinine, and in many, possibly unintentional ways, it's a perfect metaphor for L.A., fusing the inventive and the pointless in one single, silly cultural icon. Every mall needs its hook, some bit of design that sets it apart from the other approximately five gajillion malls in Southern California, and no matter what you think of the trolley, you have to admit it's better than those puzzling anonymous quotes from "Screenwriter" and "Line Producer" tiled into the pavement at Hollywood and Highland. (Soon to be featured in our upcoming column "Bad Hollywood and Highland/Bad Hollywood and Highland".)
Sure, it's a pain to have to get out of the way whenever that dumb trolley is clanging toward you, but ultimately, the trolley is what keeps the Grove from taking itself too seriously. It's what takes the Grove to that extra level of surreal, what makes it more than yet another outpost for yet another Gap and J. Crew. We doubt the trolley was ever intended as a legitimate means of transportation, but as transportation vehicles go, it's no more useless than the L.A. subway system, and it cost a hell of a lot less to build.
We won't be riding the trolley ourselves anytime soon, but we're glad it's there because, whether you want to admit it or not, it's part of the Good Grove.