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Overly Attached Girlfriend is an advice animal image macro featuring webcam picture of a girl and various captions portraying her in the stereotype of an overprotective and clingy girlfriend.
On June 6th, 2012, YouTuber wzr0713 uploaded a webcam video titled “JB Fanvideo” in which she performs a parody rendition of Justin Bieber’s latest single “Boyfriend” with personalized lyrics. According to Gawker’s article, the video was submitted in response to Bieber’s announcement of an online sing-off contest in promoting his celebrity perfume “Girlfriend.”
If I was your girlfriend / I’d never let you leave / without a small recording device / taped under your sleeve
I’ll always be checking up on you / Hey, boy, who you talking to? / Spend a day with your girl, I’ll be calling you my husband.”
YouTuber wzr0713’s parody song, marked by its clingly, stalker-like lyrics, instantly drew attention from the viewers on YouTube and Reddit, many of whom wondered about the girl’s true intention behind making the video. In less than 48 hours of upload, the video received more than 1.35 million views.
On the following day of June 7th, Redditor yeahhtoast submitted a link to the YouTube video in a thread titled “Overly Attached Girlfriend,” which generated more than 800 comments in the span of seven hours as well as a Quickmeme page for an advice animal character bearing the same name.
Meanwhile, many Redditors and YouTubers commented that the advice animal character of “Overly Attached Girlfriend” was nearly identical to an older image macro series known as Crazy Girlfriend Praying Mantis.
Both the video and online reactions were subsequently picked up by numerous Internet culture blogs like The Daily What Guyism, BuzzFeed, Jezebel and Daily Dot, not to mention its viral spread on Tumblr and Facebook. Later that same day, a parody Twitter account (@attachedGF) was launched to curate some of the notable captions from the series and a similar single topic Tumblr blog was created on the following day.
On June 14th, 2012, Hockeys Future Forum member Hoggy posted a link to the Facebook profile (now disabled) of 20-year-old Laina Walker with the description “That crazy girl has a Facebook profile open now.” On June 16th, the description for the “JB fan video” on YouTube was updated with links to her new Twitter account and Facebook page. The same day, Laina published her first tweet acknowledging the video’s success:
I’m always amused by the @OvrlyAttachdGF tweets. Then I realize my face is associated with it and I’m slightly disturbed. Still awesome.
— Laina (@laina622) June 16, 2012
On the Facebook page, Laina uploaded several photographs of herself (shown below) and urged fans to follow her on Twitter since she would be updating the Facebook page less frequently. Within three days, Walker accumulated over 7,800 new Twitter followers and 16,500 likes on Facebook. Laina has denied that Walker is her last name.
On October 16th, The Daily Dot identified OAG as Laina Morris, after she began creating videos to help charity organizations.
Call Me Maybe Parody
On June 18th, 2012, Walker uploaded a new video to her YouTube channel titled “CRJ Fanvideo”, which featured a parody of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” with clingy and overprotective lyrics similar to the original Justin Bieber video. The same day, Redditor StanFranXisco submitted the parody to the /r/videos subreddit in a post titled “Overly Attached Girlfriend’s Carly Rae Jepsen fan video.” Within 24 hours, the Reddit post accumulated over 20,300 up votes and the YouTube video accumulated over 1.8 million views.
Overly Attached Boyfriend
Spin-off attempts at creating a male counterpart character began on June 7th, the day after the upload of the “Girlfriend” fan video, with a Reddit post titled “Overly Attached Boyfriend” featuring a photo of a man staring creepily at the camera. Throughout the months of June and July, at least a dozen of user-submitted photos were used as base templates for advice animal-style image macros, though none of them took off until July 6th, 2012, when Redditor Phatrick129 submitted a picture of himself to the /r/pics subreddit with the title “Odd first post, but my friends keep reminding me I look like a certain someone.” The post was instantly met by a slew of comments pointing out his uncanny resemblance to Laina and soon reached the frontpage after receiving 26,222 upvotes.
One of the top voted comments was submitted by Redditor HertzaHaeon, which linked to a photoshopped “couple shot” image and an “obligatory” faceswap image featuring Laina and her male doppleganger.
Later that same day, the Internet news site Daily Dot posted an article titled “Meet the Overly Attached Boyfriend Meme,” detailing the development of the meme in a chronological order. On July 7th, a single topic blog titled Overly Attached Boyfriend was launched by Internet humor network Memesly and numerous image macros from the original Reddit thread were featured by BuzzFeed and FunnyJunk.
On July 9th, Daily Dot posted a follow-up interview article with Patrick Gill, the Redditor behind the newly dubbed Overly Attached Boyfriend. In the interview, the high school senior student from Arizona revealed that he decided to submit the post onto Reddit “after a little confidence boost from a friend.”
On September 3rd, 2012, Redditor Vinnyb90 submitted a post to the /r/AdviceAnimals subreddit titled “Introducing, Misunderstood Girlfriend!”, which included a photograph of Laina with the caption “Left 30 minute voicemail / butt dialed” (shown below). Within two days, the post received over 6,500 up votes and 280 comments.
That day, 17 other “Misunderstood Girlfriend” image macros were submitted to the subreddit, four of which received enough up votes to reach the front page. On September 5th, the Tumblr blog Pleated Jeans highlighted several notable examples in a post that received over 6,400 notes within 24 hours. The same day, additional compilations were reblogged on the Internet humor site Joes Daily and the tech news blog Mashable. As of September 6th, the “Misunderstood Girlfriend” Quickmeme page has accumulated 75 submissions.
The series bears many thematic similarities with the Good Girl Gina advice animal character, which features a stock photograph of a young brunette woman with captions depicting her as an altruistic mate. On September 5th, Redditor dgehen submitted a Good Girl Gina image macro with the caption “Replaced by Misunderstood Girlfriend / Doesn’t get jealous” (shown below). Within 24 hours, the post received over 5,000 up votes.
Breaking Up with Overly Attached Girlfriend
On September 24th, YouTuber Jimmy Tatro uploaded a 3-minute skit titled “Breaking Up with Overly Attached Girlfriend” onto his channel LifeAccordingToJim, starring himself and Laina Walker as a couple going through an awkward break-up talk. On the following day, the video was submitted to the /r/videos subreddit, which subsequently reached the front page with more than 9,500 upvotes and 1240 comments. Within the first week of upload, the YouTube clip accumulated more than 6.3 million views.
Underly Attached Girlfriend
The antithetical character of Overly Attached Girlfriend has been brought up as early as July 4th, 2012 with a Reddit post renaming Scumbag Steve’s female counterpart Scumbag Stacy as the “Underly Attached Girlfriend.” Submitted by Redditor prollyzooted, the post received more than 4,300 upvotes and 160 comments prior to being archived.
However, the “Underly Attached Girlfriend” spin-off series didn’t take off until months later on September 29th, when Redditor anrennt98 submitted an image of American actress and Twilight cast member Kristen Stewart captioned with “You’re cheating? Cool, me too,” a reference to the actress’ scandalous affair with American film director Rupert Sanders in July 2012. The post was well-received in the /r/adviceanimals subreddit with 3,700 upvotes and a handful of follow-up image macro submissions.