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How ‘Couch Guy’ United The Internet, For Better Or Worse

Have you ever experienced a sudden gut feeling that something just wasn’t right? Turns out the entire world got that same feeling after witnessing “couch guy” on TikTok. What began as an innocent video of a girl surprising her boyfriend (“couch guy”) in college has evolved into a widespread — and surprisingly heated — conversation about cheating, dishonesty, friendship, and why the girl in the video should be protected at all costs. It’s also a reminder that TikTokers are forever working harder than the FBI, and creators won’t rest until they have the answers.

The chaos began when TikToker @laurenzarras posted a video of the moment she surprised her partner, Robbie, in college. You’ve likely seen videos like this on TikTok before, where a pair reunites in a super cute way — usually with one partner appearing totally shocked and happy to see their SO. In Lauren’s video, she is seen walking into her boyfriend’s room with a suitcase in hand. Although a bit blurry, you can tell he’s surrounded by friends and is sitting on the couch next to three girls — none of whom seem particularly excited that girlfriend has entered said room — and, let’s just say the tension is palpable, even through the screen.

While the original video was intended to capture a wholesome moment, it’s clear to everyone on TikTok that the vibes in this video are simply…off. The world reacted within minutes, with thousands of TikTokers commenting that couch guy is clearly cheating, pointing out the arm placement of the girl next to him, highlighting a mysterious exchange of phones, and of course, that awkward moment when no one appeared thrilled about girlfriend’s entrance. In true TikTok fashion, the internet investigations are ongoing, and theories continue to emerge left and right about Lauren and Robbie’s IRL relationship. (Most creators speculate that couch guy is guilty, and they advise Lauren to run for the hills).

If you’re wondering just how many people are invested in this saga, the original video has over 4 million likes, nearly 53 million views, and the hashtag #CouchGuy has over 426 million views (and counting) on TikTok. Not only does the drama give off big reality show vibes, but many creators appear genuinely angered and eager to help “solve” the issue of problematic couch guy — whether Lauren asked for this or not. Thanks to couch guy, it appears the internet is united once again, for better or for worse. 

If you’re on TikTok and haven’t seen the original video, rest assured you’re no less than seven degrees of separation from couch guy. Has your FYP randomly been inundated with people surprising their significant others lately? Chances are, it’s because of couch guy. Maybe you first saw videos of TikTokers strategically analyzing the couch guy moment — or even parodies of the reunion — before coming across the original itself. That said, while the couch guy moment has sparked some interesting and entertaining reactions from TikTokers all over the world, it’s safe to say it triggered something specific in all of us, and I can’t help but wonder what it says about our collective conscience.

Honestly, I’m less concerned with whether or not couch guy is guilty and more interested in the way everyone’s intuition immediately said, “something’s not right here.” How is it that people all over the world are instantly able to sense “bad vibes” within the first few seconds of watching? Why do we feel the need to analyze the situation, then solve, warn, and protect a young girl from her potentially toxic relationship? Maybe it’s that we’re simply addicted to being internet detectives: Was her hand on his back? Look at how he sneakily grabs his phone! Whose hair tie is that around his wrist? Or, maybe it’s that we’ve all tragically “been there” before, and we know exactly what it’s like to be hurt by someone who is sneaking around.

Whether you’re new to #CouchGuy or you couldn’t look away from your FYP over the weekend, most of us can agree that there’s something wild about millions of people weighing in on the merits of a teen relationship. And despite how TikTokers are making light of the “couch guy” saga, there are real-life consequences to the viral nature of it all; both Lauren and Robbie have responded to the chaos, saying that not everything has to be “true crime” and pleading for people to stop assuming things about their relationship. 

Not only did the “couch guy” moment trigger visceral reactions in people all over the world, but it tapped into human experiences that many people know well — rejection, hurt, distrust, young love, feeling left out, and being in relationships that don’t necessarily feel secure. If there’s any good that can come of this saga, perhaps it’s the important reminder that we’re all human beings having a human experience, and maybe it’s time to start healing.

Tianna is an Associate Editor at Her Campus Media HQ where she covers all things pop culture, entertainment, wellness, and TikTok trends. She graduated from North Carolina State University and received her masters from Columbia University. Tianna currently lives in New York City where you can find her sipping coffee, practicing yoga, and singing show tunes.
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