If you've logged in to TikTok recently and have been bombarded with content about “couch guy,” you’re not alone. The hashtag #couchguy currently has more than 702,800,000 views and climbing. (And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with Raymour and Flanigan.)
TMRW is here to break down the mystery and mayhem of the viral trend that has some people scratching their heads at what the fuss is all about.
So, what is the "couch guy" trend on TikTok?
On Sept. 21, TikTok user Lauren Zarras (@laurenzarras) uploaded a video of herself surprising her boyfriend, Robbie McCoy, at the University of Virginia. Set to Ellie Goulding’s song “Still Falling for You,” some viewers watched and concluded that the boyfriend, dubbed couch guy, wasn’t that excited to see her. Some eagle-eyed viewers were quick to observe other supposed red flags, such as him potentially trading something with one of the girls he was sitting next to on the couch.
From there, numerous other TikTok users uploaded their own takes on the situation, breaking down what they think is transpiring. Others just parodied the experience with their own version, brutally ragging on the young couple and mocking them. What could have been a lovey-dovey moment was perceived by many as awkward and cringeworthy. Instead of going viral for the intended romantic reasons, the video went viral for all the wrong ones.
"He hugged her like she was his aunt at Christmas dinner," one person wrote.
Another added, "I've never seen someone look so unhappy to see their girlfriend."
Zarras eventually felt like she had to defend herself from the cyberbullying. “Breaks my heart that people can watch a special moment and bring so much negativity,” she commented on the viral video, pinning her comment to the top. “Please think before you assume anything about my relationship.”
TMRW has reached out to Zarras for comment and will update this post if we hear back.
Who is couch guy?
Since then, McCoy has created his own TikTok account, @souljawatchambassador, uploading content with his response to the situation. In his first video posted to the platform, he told people not to be a “parasocial creep” and to “go get some fresh air.”
In another video, he asked if people “know what gaslighting means” after being accused of gaslighting both his girlfriend and viewers.
“Are you being gaslit if… someone on the internet tells you to get some fresh air after you scrutinize their private life,” he wrote. “Or are you being gaslit if… thousands of strangers call you delusional for claiming to know your own relationship better than they do.”
So ... now what?
From what we can tell, the couple is still together despite all the drama. Zarras, who is a Purdue University student, seems to be taking her accidental fame in stride.
At her dad's suggestion, she created "couch guy" merchandise, selling T-shirts with a cartoon of a dude sitting on a couch. And her most recent upload on TikTok shows her wearing a fashionable jacket that she was likely gifted, probably because this whole ordeal has earned her more than 178,000 followers on TikTok. So even if the couple do end up breaking up, like so many teenage relationships do, at least she will have a robust social media following to use in the future.