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Pop Life: Closet Case

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With all the tenacity of a crusty-wig ho stalking fresh prey, R. Kelly has brought Trapped in the Closet back to the screen. For the past two years, we've all been wondering, "How are we supposed to go on, not knowing what happens next with Sylvester, Rufus, Gwendolyn, Tina, Twan and all the other batshit characters R.Kelly makes up while waiting for his assistant to get back with the Meximelts?" Now we know: More sex! More violence! More incontinent dwarf strippers hiding under the sink!

Kelly recently introduced the world premiere of Trapped in the Closet Chapters 13-22 on the Independent Film Channel, explaining that the song is dictated to him by "the musical visual aliens," and describing the series as "musical opera." (Combining music and opera? Brilliant!) When will it end? "Whenever the aliens decide to leave," Kelly confides. The whole thing is, man, I don't see Trapped in the Closet ending, because it's about us all. It won't end till we end." Oh, shit!

As Trapped's main character, Sylvester, would say, everything about this story is crazier than a fish with titties.The fact that Trapped comes out just in time for Kelly's long-delayed child pornography trial makes you wonder if it was dreamed up by a legal team angling for an insanity defense. ("Your honor, Exhibit A: The defendant in his tacky old man beard!") Kelly is definitely a director with his own vision of the world: Players gonna play, ballers gonna ball, rollers gonna roll with hookers and cops and gay pastors and tranny assassins and twin sisters who love some Waffle House. Kellz is striding tall in the footsteps of titans like Antonioni and Bergman, with a mise-en-scne that recalls Master P circa I'm Bout It. So what if it doesn't make any sense? It's the freakin' weekend, he's about to have him some fun!

Anybody who says Kelly isn't being funny on purpose hasn't been listening to him very long, since he never pretended there was nothing funny about "I Like the Crotch on You," or the end of "Feelin' on Yo Booty," where he cracks up at his own falsetto. Now we get new characters like Pimp Lucious, Italian mobsters and lesbian waitresses. After an all-too-brief shot of Big Man's exotic dance routine at Dixie's, it ends with a tantalizing to be continued. How long will we have to wait for the next chapters? Probably fifteen to twenty years. Who's up for Waffle House?

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ABOUT THIS BLOG

Rob Sheffield

Rob Sheffield is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, where he writes about music, TV and pop culture. He is the author of two books, Talking To Girls About Duran Duran and Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time.

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