Trapped in the Closet Chapters 1-12 (DVD)
For anyone following R. Kelly’s epic music video saga Trapped in the Closet, the DVD release of chapters 1-12 seemed to promise closure to the woefully entangled stories of its characters’ crazy, rampantly adulterous lives. But the DVD promises only one thing: a hell of a lot more Trapped in the Closet. Basically, it sounds like R. Kelly plans to keep this thing rolling for as long as it sells discs: Chapter 12 is completely inconclusive, and the awesomely pointless Trapped Behind the Scenes documentary just features him repeating that the Chi-town saga is going to be around “for a long, long time.”
The first five chapters were released as part of Kelly’s most recent album, TP.3 Reloaded in July. It’s worth noting, too, that TP.3 was so ridiculous that the five-part “urban operetta” doesn’t actually seem that bizarre compared to songs like ‘Sex Weed’ (“girl is like a dime bag of ‘dro”) and ‘Sex in the Kitchen’ (“girl I am ready to toss your salad”). Some people exalted the videos for redefining the music video genre; others made fun of them for their ridiculous plot, droning beat, and terrible lip-synching. Not to mention the fact that R. Kelly was actually taking them seriously — he was gradually mutating from a fucking crazy R&B star to a fucking crazy actor. Chapters 1-5 seemed to be an effort to create a body of evidence that, if presented in a court of law, would allow him to plead insanity with no trouble whatsoever.
What made the first five installments so hilarious — the twisted adultery, the horrible rhyming, and the acting out of every single minute detail on screen — is all over the seven new chapters. But judging by Kelly’s new cigar-toting, Hitchcock-esque cameos as the storyteller himself, he’s not taking it all so seriously anymore. With Big Man, one-upping Sylvester by being trapped in a kitchen cabinet, this is no longer R. Kelly’s story. His character goes from being a bumbling idiot who scratches his head with his gun barrel to being the only one in control of the situation. It’s still a brilliant soap opera, but — at least for us viewers who are total assholes — he’s screwed up the most important part of the formula: we’re supposed to be laughing at R. Kelly, not with him.
The Cast of Playas
Played by R. Kelly, Sylvester is our protagonist, or antagonist (depending on whether or not you have morals). Cheats on Gwendolyn with Cathy. Dislikes tight spaces, packs a Beretta, prone to leg cramps.
(aka Mary) Cheats on Rufus with Sylvester. Manages to convince Rufus that she’s doing late night shopping, when in fact she’s going to the club. Wears a wig that looks exactly like her real hair.
Foul-mouthed, secretly gay pastor. Cheats on Cathy with Chuck. Likes sweaters and Jesus, gives up his fiancé for his wife after cheating on her for about a year.
Deacon at Rufus’ church. Speaks softly, likes cheap motels.
Policeman, cigarette smoker. Cheats on Bridget with Gwendolyn. Favorite kind of pie: cherry.
Cheats on Sylvester with James, also knows Cathy from high school. Likes rough sex, velour tracksuits, going to the same club as her husband and never crossing paths with him.
Spatula-wielding nosy neighbor. Has an entire coda devoted to her, even though she doesn’t seem to serve any function in the story whatsoever.
Cheats on James with Big Man. Allergic to cherries, packs a double-barrel shotgun, speaks in obnoxious Southern accent. Probably not a coincidence that her name rhymes with “midget.”
Asthmatic male stripper, also the aforementioned midget. But claims to be well-endowed anyway.