Home Tech An ‘incredibly relatable’ TikTok series has captivated viewers. But its success was complex

An ‘incredibly relatable’ TikTok series has captivated viewers. But its success was complex

0 comment
 An 'incredibly relatable' TikTok series has captivated viewers. But its success was complex

April Reign watched all 50 parts of the viral TikTok series. Who did I marry?

Reign, creator of the 2015 viral social media campaign #OscarSoWhite, was among the millions and counting who tuned in to watch Reesa Teesa, real name Tareasa Johnson, talk about how she “met, dated, married and divorced ” of a man. whom he described as “a true pathological liar.”

technology/2024/apr/08/things-im-ashamed-to-admit-tiktok-trend-driving-new-level-of-oversharing"},"ajaxUrl":"https://api.nextgen.guardianapps.co.uk","format":{"display":0,"theme":1,"design":8}}" config="{"renderingTarget":"Web","darkModeAvailable":false}"/>

Johnson told TikTok viewers that she met the man, whom she called “Legion,” in early March 2020 on a dating app. Shortly afterward he moved into their three-bedroom townhouse so they could quarantine together during the pandemic. They married in January 2021 and divorced six months later. The year and a half she spent in the relationship was filled with broken promises: promises of a new home, a new car, and a trip to London. After feeling abandoned during a painful miscarriage, Johnson began to really reconsider her relationship.

During the video series, which was released on Valentine’s Day and lasted 500 minutes (or eight hours), Johnson, while driving her car, putting on makeup or curling her hair, admitted that she didn’t “pay attention to the red flags of The United Nations”. , and she bravely confessed: “she was desperate. I wanted to get married. “I wanted a family and I thought it was my turn.”

This is not a unique or abnormal situation: wanting love, marriage and family. Look no further than reality TV dating shows, including Love is Blind, 90-Day Fiance, Married at First Sight, and The Bachelor and Bachelorette series: wanting and searching for love is a universal human desire. But why did Johnson’s story resonate with so many people, and why did so many tune in to his tale of romantic misfortune?

Allow TikTok content?

This article includes content provided by TikTok. We ask for your permission before uploading anything as they may be using cookies and other technologies. To view this content, click ‘Allow and continue’.

Reign highlighted Johnson’s great storytelling skills. He also noted that people related to Johnson’s romantic mistakes.

“Overall, her story was incredibly relatable and sad in the sense that most of us, I don’t want to speak universally, but I think most of us have ignored the red flags because, like she said, we were alone or we were looking for something. camaraderie,” said Reign, a creative consultant and advisor to the social media app Spill.

Johnson’s story, shown in 10-minute videos, had all the drama of a good reality show with many viewers calling on the Lifetime network or Tyler Perry to make a movie of the TikTok series. And within weeks of its release, his cheating story appeared in major media outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and Time magazine.

When Johnson spoke to Robin Roberts from Good Morning America and talk show host Tamron Loungethe series Who TF Did I Marry garnered over 400 million views.

Johnson told Roberts that “there were a lot of things in this story that were red flags,” but that he “felt like time was running out.” He also ignored the red flags, he said, because “Legion” was paying all the bills and being a supplier. Johnson told Roberts that he “had never experienced that before.” But the TikToker said she learned during their relationship that the person he had married had previously been arrested for impersonating a police officer and had an open warrant for his arrest. “Being single isn’t always the best, but being married to the wrong person is a whole different kind of hell,” Johnson said.

On his talk show, Hall noted that millions had made the Who TF Did I Marry series “must see television” and that it had “become an obsession for many.” Johnson told Hall that on their first date the man he called “Legion” was charming. “He had a very professional mentality. He could dress very well. He acted like someone serious. So when he introduced himself he said: ‘I’m 42 years old. I’m ready to settle down.’ I believed that,” Johnson said. He would later discover that some things “Legion” had told him, such as that he attended San Diego State or played Arena Football, were not true.

Johnson’s story, shown in 10-minute videos, had all the drama of a good reality show. Photography: TikTok / Reesa Teesa

“I’m embarrassed. I’m still kicking myself,” Johnson told Hall about not being more diligent in checking her ex-husband’s background. But ultimately, the goal of her sharing her story was to help others, she said, those who may “want the fairy tale” like she does. “It costs you nothing to verify, but it can also cost you everything if you don’t verify.”

Johnson later signed with talent agency CAA, according to the Hollywood Reporter, following the interviews. And more recently, Johnson spoke with ABC News’ Impact X Nightline reporter Ashan Singh for his report, How I Was Played, which gave examples of different romance scams. Johnson told Singh that for a long time she felt “embarrassed and ashamed” for allowing “this person” into my life.

Patrice Berry, a licensed clinical psychologist based in Fredericksburg, Virginia, says he had only seen about 10 episodes of Who TF Did I Marry, but notes that it was the intimate details Johnson shared about their “rollercoaster” relationship that kept people tuned in.

It is this message in the Johnson mess that Berry focused on during an episode about the series on his own YouTube channel.

“I think a lot of people can relate to making bad decisions from a place of pain and then gaining the courage to leave behind a relationship that was never meant for life,” Berry said. “I think I was trying to encourage people to listen to their intuition, trust themselves, be aware of the signs of a toxic relationship and that it’s okay to be alone.”

DeVon Franklin, New York Times bestselling author and relationship coach on the popular reality show Married at First Sight, noted that “none of us get through this experience called loving another person without some scars. None of us.”

Franklin faced public scrutiny during his marriage and divorce to actress Meagan Good.

“Who has gone through love and not felt pain?” -Franklin asked. “I don’t know anyone, right? That’s why I respect your decision to be transparent. “I think even if we can’t relate to the details, we can all relate to having a hope for love and it not working out the way we expected.”

The way Johnson told her story, in 10-minute cliffhangers, and the details of her bad romance were certainly juicy, but what made Who TF Did I Marry? Such an interesting topic was how and where it was delivered, Reign says.

The TikTok platform is free, which makes the video series accessible, and the platform also allows its content to be shared on other platforms, Reign notes. He also points out that TikTok videos don’t disappear, unlike an Instagram Live, which expires after 24 hours. Viewers were able to go back and watch previous episodes to catch up on the series. It was also the visual medium for Who Did I Marry? Reign said TikTok offered something that couldn’t be replicated in a book or audio podcast.

“I couldn’t have done what she did. “I’ve been out there and they’ve dragged me and said horrible things about me just because I have a public platform,” Reign said. “So, I give you my props for sharing and hopefully helping someone else and being able to weather that social media storm.”

You may also like