Back in November 2023, TikTok became obsessed with what was known as the “Orange Peel Theory.” While discussions around the topic seemed to die down in the months since, there’s been a new interest in the theory online this week thanks to a viral TikTok video that quickly found its way to X, where it instantly launched hundreds of Orange Peel Theory memes. In the video, a woman asks her partner to peel an orange for her, and he’s—uh—let’s go with “not great about it.”
While the video—which, as of now, has garnered over 21 million views on TikTok alone—is widely believed to be satire (please be satire), it’s still ignited an important conversation regarding what makes a good partner, and how the Orange Peel Theory is an excellent test for figuring that out.
What is the Orange Peel Theory?
So, for those who know what grass looks and feels like, allow me to explain: the Orange Peel Theory is, well, exactly what it sounds like—but it’s best broken down by TikToker @neanotmia:
The most basic conceit of the theory is that small acts of service—like peeling an orange for your partner when they don’t want to—are the best indicators of how much your partner truly loves you, and how willing you’ll be to seek out their help in the future.
Or, as @neanotmia explains in her video: “If someone asks you to peel their orange you might think, ‘They’re perfectly capable of doing that themselves, that’s not a big deal. It might not literally be about peeling the orange. They’re asking you for a small favor to see your reaction, to see if later they can ask you for bigger favors.”
How did the Orange Peel Theory originate?
According to Time Magazine, the name of the theory also likely originates from a TikTok, namely a viral slideshow wherein texts from a broken-up couple are shown, with one slide stating: “I miss when you would peel my oranges for me in the morning.”
As stated above, the trend took off on TikTok in November 2023 with countless videos and stories of people’s (and their partner’s) reactions to this simple test.
Heck, the trend even allegedly led to a break-up back in the Fall, as a now-deleted Reddit thread revealed a woman saw the theory on TikTok and realized she was doing far more things for her partner than he was ever doing for her.
And due to the topic’s recent resurgence online, specifically on X, it naturally resulted in some positively hilarious commentary.
The best Orange Peel Theory memes
So, with that set-up in mind, here are just a few of the very best reactions, jokes, and Orange Peel Theory memes, ranging from super silly to honestly kind of sweet: