- Megan Glessman decided to surprise her boyfriend after being away from him for four months.
- She posted the surprise video on TikTok and it blew up, garnering 18 million views.
- The couple received heavy criticism for their response, but they have learned to deal with it.
When Megan Glessman, a 21-year-old college student based in Winnipeg, Canada, came home from a four-month trip to Hawaii, she decided to surprise her boyfriend with a grand gesture to show up at a social event without telling him in advance. That she came back.
The moment was captured by his friends, who looked on stunned as his girlfriend walked over to hug 22-year-old Matthew Boyle. Glessman decided to post the surprised 17-second clip on her TikTok account because she thought his shocked expression in the video was “funny”.
But things took a sour turn after Glessman, who has 8,500 TikTok followers and typically gets thousands of views on each of his posts, went explosively viral within days. To her shock, the post received 18.5 million views.
Glessman and Boyle, who told Insider that only casual TikTok users are unaware of most viral trends and memes, said they had no idea what they were doing after going viral.
Viewers were quick to compare the video to a similar viral moment in the past — but it wasn’t positive
Glessman and Boyle Old Insider said they were happy to see each other and the evening wasn’t awkward despite Boyle’s initial reaction, which he said was to “process” the situation as he was caught off guard.
But Glessman’s TikTok viewers didn’t see what happened between the pair after the cameras stopped rolling, and their reactions to her short video were harsh.
As the video began to gain more views, commenters began dissecting Boyle’s reaction and body language in the clip, saying they were “guilty” and “worried” to see her. Some commenters said his reaction suggested he was cheating on her while she was away.
Many commentators have compared Glessman’s video, which went viral in September 2021, to a similar clip. It showed a woman surprising her boyfriend in college, but his reluctance to get up from the couch he was sitting on led to a heated debate about the nature of their relationship. , and widespread speculation about his allegiance. He quickly became known as “Couch Guy” and the video received over 50 million views.
Some viewers of Glessman’s video felt the clip was a deliberate parody or recreation of the “Couch Guy” video, especially since the same audio was used – a clip from Ellie Goulding’s “Still Falling for You”. But Glessman said he had never heard of the original video and chose to use the voice over because it was trending under the hashtag #longdistancerelationship.
“When I posted it and people started commenting, I was like, ‘What’s a couch potato?’ she told the insider. When she saw it and realized the comparison was not positive, she said, it was upsetting.
“I probably shed a few tears,” she told Insider.
Going too viral can subject the people at the center of these clips to online abuse
About three months after the original “Couch Guy” TikTok exploded, the man in the video wrote an anonymous op-ed in Slate magazine, describing the intense experience of reaching that level of notoriety. He said online hate has exposed him to “invasions of my privacy” and “threats of doxxing”.
Glessman and Boyle told Insider that it was overwhelming at first to receive a large influx of negative comments on their video.
Online commenters have constantly mocked their relationship.
When Glessman posted a short compilation of photos of her and Boyle from their three years together on October 13, comments under the post questioned how happy their relationship was, suggesting they were trying to cover up or “justify” their problems. relationship
The couple told Insider that they expect people to have opinions about anything they post. “It’s kind of sad, but, you’ve got to expect it,” Glesman said.
“People are on these apps for entertainment. And when you get a video that kind of goes viral, you immediately have an opinion about it,” Boyle added.
The couple said they were sensitive to a lot of negativity. “With the first few comments, I was kind of hurt, but then there was so much more,” Glesman said.
Boyle told Insider a few days later, the online feud simply “shut it off” and tried to move on. “I haven’t lost any sleep over this,” he said.
He continued, “The thing about being so innocent is huge, but it’s pretty funny that it doesn’t really affect me.”
For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider’s Digital Culture team here.