17. October 2021

Squashed or cheating? Inside our fascination with ‘Couch Guy’


To be alive right this moment is to grasp that tiny corners of the web can, at any given second, explode with little or no warning to turn out to be a volcano of crimson, sizzling, extremely contentious content material.

A gold and white dress that might also be blue and black, for instance. And extra just lately, Bad Art Friend, the New York Times article about one girl’s kidney donation, a Facebook put up and the subpoenaed gossipy group texts.

The ‘Couch Guy’ clip has been viewed more than 60 million times.

The ‘Couch Guy’ clip has been considered greater than 60 million occasions. Credit:TikTookay/laurenzarras

And then after all, Couch Guy, the TikTookay clip that’s turn out to be the topic of viral dishonest hypothesis because it was posted to the platform on September 22.

For these born earlier than 2005, a recap: A US girl, Lauren Zarras, determined to movie herself shocking her boyfriend in school. In the video, when she enters the room, her boyfriend will be seen, seated on a small sofa, subsequent to 3 different younger ladies. As he makes eye contact with stated girlfriend, he instantly bows his head, places down his drink and seems … slightly underwhelmed to see her. If the phrase “I guess?” was an individual, it could be this man. He slowly rises to hug her and the clip ends.

This clip – lasting not than 20 seconds – has since been considered 61 million occasions and counting. The purpose is the inscrutable nature of the man’s response, which viewers – for we’re all viewers, now – interpreted as far too low-key.

Why did he not show the behaviours we’ve come to anticipate from filmed content material? Where had been the tears? The arms over the mouth, adopted by the lengthy, drawn out “OOohhhhh myyyyy goddddd??!!!” Where was the Ryan Gosling patented transfer of choosing up and spinning across the girlfriend? Couch Guy gave us none of those and so the web jumped, as swiftly to suspicion.

Though Couch Guy, often known as Robbie, did protest, alongside with his girlfriend, that there was nothing untoward, the footage had already gone viral and was being combed for clues, and with it, got here questions. Is he dishonest on her? If he’s dishonest, is it with one or two or three of the women on the sofa? Did one in all them throw his cellphone again to him when his girlfriend arrives? Did he have a girl’s hairband on his wrist? These questions, of their literal hundreds of thousands, have been hotly debated.

It’s a well-known social media merry-go-round. Last month, slow-motion footage from the Venice Film Festival of actor Oscar Isaac wanting over to his co-star Jessica Chastain on the crimson carpet had an analogous response. While selling their TV sequence, Scenes from a Marriage, Isaac will be seen playfully sniffing her armpit. At regular velocity, it appears to be like like two outdated mates goofing round (the actors met at college). But slowed down it seems as if Isaac desires to ravish her with his eyes. As they’re each married – to different individuals – and Isaac, in his tux, resembled a professorial George Clooney, the web went bananas. The five-second second was so totally analysed and so broadly shared, Chastain needed to situation an evidence on morning tv.

“Because of reality TV and social media and podcasts, we’re used to getting insight – or perceived insight – into people’s lives and figuring out their drama,” says Sydney psychologist Samantha Symes. We’ve all the time had robust opinions about individuals’s behaviours, however we’ve by no means had this type of entry or intimacy earlier than.”

We’re additionally actively inspired to air our opinions. Comment sections, social media and Gogglebox can attest to that. Everyone is a psychologist now, says Symes. Even within the case of 1 girl’s non-public second with her boyfriend?

“Everyone has opinions about anything and everything, whether they know who they’re talking about or not. It’s just now there is a platform to make what may have been private thoughts public, often anonymously, which makes it more tempting,” Symes says.

“I do think when you open yourself and your world to the public, you open yourself to judgment, even if that judgment is misinformed.”

And whereas restrictions could also be easing now, our months inside haven’t helped. “We’re all getting a bit bored in lockdown, so we’re spending more time looking into things we might normally skip over,” she provides. “We’re all at home, we’re maybe a bit cranky, a bit restless, feeling a little negative and there’s no office kitchen to gossip about co-workers in; there are no neighbours to be critical of, so we’re turning to people online.”

Still, Symes says: “Controversy and opinions, will always have a platform.”

But as we all know by now, that is the web, the place cultural tendencies transfer at lightning velocity. Yes, Couch Guy has dominated for longer than common, and it’s been each baffling and hilarious, however by subsequent month, there could have been a slate of latest viral moments demanding the world’s consideration and being ludicrously picked aside for leisure.

In a wierd flip of occasions, the wisest phrases might have come from Couch Guy himself, posting on TikTookay: “Not everything is true crime … Go get some fresh air.”

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SANJHI AWAAZ is Punjabi radio station based in Melbourne (Australia) catering for all age groups of the Punjabi and Hindi speaking communities in the Melbourne VIC (AUS) and across the world online.