“Trapped in the Closet: The Next Installment” in t-minus 5…4…3…

A confusingly vast array of personas

In 2005, R. Kelly released his R&B infused soap opera Trapped in the Closet. You may remember the showcase of this hip hopera at the MTV Music Video Awards or from that time you procrastinated starting a paper by watching all 22 chapters in a row (an act which actually saps you of brain energy, instead of merely delaying the use of it). In retrospect, Trapped in the Closet is painful…but it hurts so good. If it wasn’t for all of R. Kelly’s absurdity, we never would have been blessed with Weird Al’s Trapped in a Drive-thru or South Park’s “Trapped in The Closet” episode (spoiler alert, it involves scientology). Twenty-two segments of a music video in which R. Kelly voices all of the parts with cliche R&B melismas that should’ve died in the 90s may not move you to tears,  but the plot will have you laughing until you cry. Let’s take a look at the players…

First, we have our omnipresent narrator R. Kelly. Then we have a guy who looks just like R. Kelly – the main character Sylvester, whose character development is limited to frantic episodes of Beretta waving. Then there’s the woman in whose bed Sylvester wakes up, her preacher husband, his gay lover, Sylvester’s wife, a cop with a bad nicotine habit, a hillbilly dame, a midget sporting a cowboy hat, an ex-con, an Italian gangster, a pimp with a severe stutter, Rosy the Nosy Neighbor, and hosts more. How are all these stereotypes and oddballs linked? Mainly, they’re all just a few degrees of separation away from sleeping with each other. Now, seriously, if that doesn’t motivate you to catch at least a portion of this masterpiece of Western fiction (all chapters are available on YouTube), you have no sense of humor. Zero. Zip. Nada.

But why the sudden push to watch Trapped in the Closet now? Because after an interminable (or glorious, depending on how you feel about the original) hiatus, R. Kelly is releasing Trapped in the Closet: The Next Installment on IFC and IFC.com TONIGHT at 9 p.m. – also known as “in 3 minutes.” When this modern day Orpheus last left us, the entire cast was concerned about a rumor concerning a mysterious package, and now we may finally learn the contents of said package! (Disclaimer: the general consensus is that this package is an STD.)

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1 Comment

  1. '06 alum

    You have no idea how spot on you are with the paper procrastination line. Having been at Brown when it came out, I can tell you that this was a pastime.

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