Reesa Teesa’s ‘Who TF did I marry?’ TikToks are like an audiobook

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TikTok’s latest viral superstar is Reesa Teesa, a Georgia woman who posted 50 videos — just under 10 minutes long apiece — chronicling her tumultuous relationship with her ex-husband. That’s over six hours of content, all about a stranger’s experience living with a compulsive liar. But millions of viewers are eating it up, clinging to Reesa’s every last word on a platform with a reputation for ruining our attention span.

I can’t go for a walk without headphones (lest I be alone with my own thoughts), so I’m constantly listening to podcasts and audiobooks. But Reesa’s videos marked the first time that I went for a walk while listening to TikToks, my phone tucked away in my pocket. And apparently, that’s what the storyteller intended.

“The series, ‘who the f— did I marry,’ is not something that you have to sit down and hold your phone and watch,” Reesa said in a TikTok on Wednesday. “I did it the way I did it so that way, you actually can listen to it as an audiobook, chapter by chapter, in order.”

This format might be unconventional, but it’s working. Even by TikTok’s standards, Reesa’s rise is meteoric. She had 50,000 followers on Friday; now, less than a week later, she’s about to hit 2 million. And Google Trends says that “who tf did i marry” is the most-searched item related to marriage this week.

TikTok inherently demands our attention. You can’t watch TikToks picture-in-picture on your phone, and on the For You page, the same video will play over and over until you scroll to the next one, so you have to manually swipe to see more content. But Reesa is taking advantage of TikTok’s playlist feature, which transitions from one video to the next in order.

“I let all 50 parts play while I was washing dishes, cooking, everything,” one commenter wrote on TikTok. “My son was like, part 38, you still watching the lady??”

Confessional, diaristic videos have been popular since the early days of YouTube. But the genre has evolved from bedroom vlogs into story time TikToks, which are often filmed in the car — a neutral, quiet place with good lighting. Usually, though, these kinds of vlogs are posted in real time as diary entires, and subscribers tune in and catch up when a new video is posted. But Reesa posted her 50 videos all within the span of a few days, talking about an experience she had a couple of years ago, giving her a bit more time to process the events. We see her in various stages throughout her day: She drives to work with hair curlers in, records some more videos with her hair and makeup done, then goes home to tell more of the story in her pajamas. It’s a dual-sided memoir: She’s talking about the past, calmly, consistently and in chronological order, but the videos themselves show us her present, as she’s going about her day-to-day life.

When we watch Reesa do mundane things in her TikTok “audiobook,” she subtly signals to us that no matter how bad things got with her ex-husband, she’s still standing.

 

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