TikTokers miss a beat. That's especially true after what was intended to be a heartwarming reunion video has spawned in-depth analysis of comrades' relationship and countless humorous jokes that now dominate the feeds of many TikTok users.
The subject of suspicion that arose after the original video was posted has been dubbed "couch guy," and videos with the #couckguy hashtag have so far garnered nearly 400 million views. But how did it all begin and what is it exactly that people are so interested in? Here's everything you need to know.
Who is 'couch guy'?
It all started when TikTok user @laurenzarras posted a video on Sept. 21 about surprising her boyfriend at college. "Robbie had no idea," reads the caption. In the video, she enters an apartment with two men, backpack and suitcase in tow, and walks up to her boyfriend, who is sitting on a couch with three other girls. He does look surprised, and slowly rises to give her a hug. There's another man in the room, sitting in a different chair. The video currently has over 52 million views.
Sounds like a good idea, right?
It's all a bit off topic, though. Users flooded the comment section, warning the user who posted the video that her boyfriend may be cheating on her.
"Bro is on the couch with three other girls," reads one comment. "The girls look sus, the boys look amused, and the boyfriend looks scared." Sis...please ask questions," says one. "3 girls 3 guys...sis you interrupted the party," commented one. "He hugged her like she was his aunt at Christmas dinner," reads one. Even Shark Tank's Barbara Corcoran commented, "Use these two words wisely, Lauren. "I'm out."
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Several users claimed that it looks like the girl next to couch guy had his phone and snoopily handed it to him as he hunched over before rising to hug his girlfriend. (There have been a lot of breakdowns and play-by-plays of this; more on that in ten minutes).
"I don't like the sneaky phone pass AT ALL," said one user. "He secretly grabbed his phone from the girl next to him," according to one writer.
How has the couple responded?
TikToker @laurenzarras defended her boyfriend and their relationship in the comment section, saying: "It breaks my heart that people can watch a special moment and bring so much negativity." Please take a moment to think about my relationship before you commit anything. As for the phone comment, his phone was in his lap. Thanks for the comments! "No, I'm not in denial."
Her boyfriend, @souljawatchambassador, posted his own response video, writing, "Couch guy here. You're welcome to get off berries & cream TikTok (referring to a previous trend on the social video app), but keep in mind that not everything is crime. Don't be a parasocial creep. Go and take a breath of fresh air. Take care." He captioned the video: "I love @laurenzarras, she's the best. #couchguy."
Because of the way TikTok works, we haven't been able to contact @laurenzarras or @souljawatchambassador directly.
How have TikTokers responded to the videos?
It appears that the majority of people on TikTok aren't convinced of couch guy's innocence. In fact, a TikTok search for #couchguy results in dozens of videos that break down each moment of the original video, with some users carefully analyzing the alleged phone pass while others observing that they see sassy paws on couch guy's back when his girlfriend steps in.
That being said, one user posted a video attempting to discredit the hand-on-back claim.
Others have chosen to create parodies of the original clip, reenacting scenarios where it's apparent their partner isn't thrilled to see them or is clearly guilty of cheating.
In one clip, a girl visits her boyfriend proposing to another woman.
In one, a girl knocks on the door of her boyfriend's apartment and he walks out while awkwardly pulling his shirt on, only to be followed by another girl peeking out of the apartment moments later.
Yet another parody shows a man on settee with several other girls stroking him and snuggling up to him until his girlfriend walks in and he awkwardly huggs her with his hands full of phones.
Because it's the internet, even cat videos are popping up. One video titled "Surprising my cat by coming home early" shows two cats tangled on the couch before the owner steps in and interrupts them.
One user joked about the uniting power the couch guy video has had on the internet. "Getting emotional thinking about how wonderful it is that so many people from a variety of backgrounds, political beliefs, vaccination preferences, etc. came together for one thing this year," they wrote.
Couch guy inspired people to create their own reunion videos and share them on social media.
People took the opportunity to post their own heartfelt videos of surprising their significant others in typical TikTok fashion.
"May I present to you a different kind of #couchguy," one caption reads on filmed of oahu's boyfriend, who is also sitting on couch when she enters.
Another clip shows a man entering the kitchen to surprise his significant other, with the caption, "Had to hop on the trend... he flew and drove through Texas snowstorm for this!"
In another, somewhat dramatic clip, a couple reunites in perhaps the world's most aggressive hug. The caption reads, "I've always loved this and it seems relevant."
Is there anyone who is defending couch boy and his girlfriend?
You'll find videos of people defending the original couple scattered among all the couch boy jokes, analyses, and alternative couple reunion videos.
"If you think couch boyfriend is cheating, he may be, but I don't think that video is evidence. I believe he was caught off guard," a TikToker wrote. "But if you think he's the only one cheating out of every single one of these videos we've seen, you're out your mind." In a five-second clip, anyone can look like smitten couples. Laissez cette chre sereine."
"I just think it's fantastic that that relationship is now under the microscope of the whole of TikTok," another employee stated. "I just hope that if/when they break up, ya'll please not drag that girl because this is already embarrassing for her."
If one thing's clear, couch guy and his girlfriend will most likely have to fight for each other until the next viral trend hits.