- A TikTok of a woman surprising her boyfriend at college has gotten over 50 million views.
- The video has led to viewers — and even TV shows — speculating whether the man was happy to see her.
- He’s now addressed claims of “red flags” in his relationship in two TikToks of his own.
TikTok’s “couch guy,” who went viral after a woman posted a TikTok “surprising” him at college, has responded to viewers’ speculation about his relationship.
The TikTok was posted last month by user Lauren Zarras, who says she is the long-distance girlfriend of “couch guy.” The video depicts her walking into what appears to be an apartment or college dorm room, where she finds a man sitting next to three women. Upon her arrival, the man stands up, and they hug. The video, soundtracked by “Still Falling for You” by Ellie Goulding, was overlaid with text that said, “surprising my boyfriend at college.”
“Robbie had no idea,” the caption of the TikTok reads.
Comments on the original TikTok are flooded with users claiming Robbie’s reaction was unusually muted and alleging that the footage showed other “red flags” about their relationship and suggested that he was cheating.
Whether Robbie was excited to see his girlfriend has become TikTok’s most popular topic.
Since the clip was posted on September 25, it has been viewed over 50 million times and attracted the attention of brands and TV stars. With thousands of TikTokers duetting, stitching, investigating, and parodying the original video with memes, “couch guy TikTok” has exploded into its own subculture on the app. The tag #couchguy has surpassed half a billion views, while #couchboy, another nickname for the topic and associated videos, has over 36 million views.
Here’s what to know about the “couch guy” TikTok world.
The clip has become a key TikTok meme
Users are contributing to what has been dubbed “couch boy slander TikTok” by trying to find “clues” about Robbie and his relationships with the other women in his dorm room.
One TikTok by user @halliefitzgerald went viral after freeze-framing and zooming the original TikTok because, according to her, it shows that Robbie is wearing another girl’s hair tie on his wrist.
Zarras’ TikTok also sparked another trend of users parodying the original video by pretending to be the couple or by surprising their own partners, friends, or family members.
Brand accounts got in on the speculation too.
Trojan, the condom brand, commented on the original TikTok questioning the “colored foils” that appeared to be on the table in the video. The Sour Patch Kids candy brand’s account commented: “sour then sus.”
Barbara Corcoran of “Shark Tank” also commented on the original, advising Zarras to say, “I’m out.”
The debate even made it to ‘The View’
Last Wednesday, panelists on the morning show “The View” gave their take on the clip.
“I don’t think surprises are a good idea,” host Sunny Hostin said. “Especially when you’re trying to surprise a boyfriend who just went away to college.”
Co-host Sara Haines defended Robbie, saying that when describing the clip to her, Hostin had “made it sound like he was like wrapped around all these women.”
“He didn’t look that excited,” Hostin said in response.
Lauren Zarras, who posted the TikTok, has responded to speculation
Since the TikTok was posted, Zarras has responded to viewers’ widespread speculation of “red flags” in her relationship with several follow-up TikToks and comments.
In a pinned comment on the original TikTok, Zarras wrote, “breaks my heart that people can watch a special moment and bring so much negativity. Please think before you assume anything about my relationship.”
As well as duetting Robbie’s own TikToks, Zarras said in one follow-up video on September 25 that users were “driving [her] crazy” by theorizing that one of the girls in Robbie’s dorm passed his phone to him in the original TikTok.
“These comments are just getting ridiculous and I don’t know why you guys are assuming so much about our relationship,” she said.
Most recently, she announced to her 161,200 TikTok followers that “couch boy” t-shirts were now on sale after she and her dad “thought it would be funny” to make some.
However, many commenters said that the shirt, which only depicts Robbie sitting on the couch, should have had the three women sitting with him on the shirt too. Several other users appeared to mock Zarras for this, with one comment reading “not you trying to make a quick buck off your embarrassment.”
She also appeared on Monday’s episode of Alyssa Amoroso’s “Tea with Publyssity” podcast.
Zarras did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The actual ‘couch guy’ urged users that ‘not everything is true crime’ as they continued analyzing the viral video
In a TikTok posted Saturday, Robbie responded to viewers’ widespread allegations.
Before “couch guy TikTok” became users’ preferred pastime, the app was overrun with memes, song remixes, and parodies based on the “berries and cream” song from a 2007 Starburst commercial. Now, however, it seems that “couch guy” has firmly taken the place of the “little lad” — something that Robbie seems acutely aware of.
“Couch guy here,” the on-screen text overlaying the infamous couch read.”Ur welcome for getting u off of berries & cream TikTok.”
The text continued: “[B]ut remember, not everything is true crime.” Robbie then appeared to call viewers speculating about his relationship “parasocial creeps.”
The term “parasocial,” which is usually described within the context of “parasocial relationships,” refers to over-familiar, one-sided relationships when one party extends a lot of emotional time and energy on another party who they’re not close to and, oftentimes, is not aware of their existence.
“Go get some fresh air,” Robbie added, before signing off by turning the camera around on himself and doing a thumbs up.
In the caption of the video, which was posted Saturday, Robbie tagged Zarras’ profile and wrote, “I love @laurenzarras, she’s the best.”
While the TikTok amassed 3 million views, many users still said they were unconvinced. Several viewers commented on the video saying he was “gaslighting” them, with the top comment by user @DontBeSadAlone reading: “Yes king, you can pull this off, gaslight her and us.”
In a follow-up TikTok posted Sunday, Robbie directly responded to @DontBeSadAlone’s comment. On-screen text read, “Time to play: Who knows what gaslighting means?”
He then showed a definition of gaslighting, before asking viewers, “Are you being gaslit if… someone on the internet tells you to get some fresh air after scrutinizing their private life OR […] if … thousands of strangers call you delusional for claiming to know your relationship better than they do.”
Robbie didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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