Garrett Lee Pinegrove Shuffling with Big Time Rush

Photo by Garrett Lee

PSU’s own Pine mothafreakin grove shuffler

James Kelly


Staff Writer


Garrett Lee’s limp arms sent his TikTok account into stardom practically overnight. On June 8th, Lee posted a dance video set to Pinegrove’s “Need 2.” In front of an overcast sky and lineless road in ubiquitous suburbia – Lee danced outside a friend’s beige house in Maryland, but it could be anywhere in the country – he swings his lifeless arms and legs below his emotionless face. Lee’s eyes are heavy. The corners of his mouth are tight and curl into a frown. The following day, Lee’s account found 50,000 new followers, and Lee became the figurehead of a new trend: the Pinegove Shuffle.

Photo by Garrett Lee

Today, the video, captioned simply “Pine muthafreakin grove,” has over 12 million views and 1.4 million likes. Lee, a freshman history major at Plymouth State, says he never expected the video to blow up. “I thought I was going to get like 50 likes,” he said. “Need 2” wasn’t Lee’s first TikTok with the dance, which he describes as a two-step. In December of 2022, he posted the same dance, set to American Football’s “Never Meant.” That video never blew up.

There is something inherently melancholic about the Pinegrove Shuffle, and that seems to be its appeal. “I was kind of in my feelings that day,” Lee said. “That’s why I looked a little sad.” The Shuffle found new life in TikTok core-core videos: often depressing montages that focus on political crises, social ostracization, and existentialism. TikTok videos with the core-core hashtag have nearly 7.5 billion views. Lee’s floppy dance and Pinegrove’s longing vocals became synonymous with videos in search of purpose and place. 

People often recognize Lee, but he doesn’t feel famous. “People come up to me all the time and tell me to hit the Pinegrove Shuffle,” Lee said. “But I still feel like the same dude.”

Lee says he wants to avoid pigeonholing himself. He posts new dances to new songs frequently, but his followers ask for more Pinegrove. “Every time I do another dance, people don’t like it as much,” he said. Lee doesn’t want to wear the Pinegrove Shuffle out. “I have other dances to do.”

In late summer, people recognized Lee as many as ten times per day. His success landed him an interview with New York Times dance critic Gia Kourlas. When Kourlas reached out to Lee on Instagram, at first he thought it was a scam. “There’s no way this person works at the New York Times,” he thought. Lee also talked to Nickelodeon star Max Schneider, who played Zander Robbins in “How to Rock”. “[Schneider] reached out to me because he was on tour with Big Time Rush. And so I went to the Big Time Rush concert,” Lee said. Like Schneider, Big Time Rush made themselves famous on Nickelodeon. The band were big fans of Lee’s dance – “they were saying that they felt starstruck,” Lee said – so Lee led them in a Pinegrove Shuffling session.

Lee says he is still stumped by his dance’s popularity and why so many people find it so meaningful, sometimes in the greatest sense of the word. “A lot of people actually comment that they watch my videos, and it gives them a reason to live,” Lee said. Even if he doesn’t know why or how Lee says he wants to keep connecting with people through TikTok. “I just want to keep doing that: make people happy.”