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Monday, July 18, 2005

R. Kelly Has Ruined Everything

Saturday night, I was briefly distracted from the new Harry Potter by my friend Jennifer, who was back in town to visit. She and Brandon came over, and we had a great time.

But at one point in the evening, she turned to me and asked, "Chris, have you heard of R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet Chapters 1-5?"

Those were the last words that the old Chris Sims ever heard, because once you've been exposed to Trapped in the Closet, you can never be the same again. Like Rorschach, I was remade by an act of sheer brutality. Except that this one was perpetrated by a noted watersports enthusiast against the listening public, and should be swiftly punished.

Here's the High Concept: It's a single song that stretches across five music videos, each telling a chapter in the story. Brilliant, right? Yeah, except that this particular song has no rhyme scheme or meter, and is also terrible. I'm pretty sure that the minute this hit the screens, the people in charge of VH1's "Awesomely Bad" shows called their wives and told them to put the candles on the table and uncork the champagne, because work for the next few years was done. Let's press on, shall we?

Chapter 1 opens with Kelly (more commonly known these days as "The Defendant") crafting a world wherein everyone is a faithless lech who demands nothing less than absolute fidelity from their respective mates. See? That's called conflict.

Anyway, back to the point, R. Kelly wakes up in some gal's house and flips out because he fell asleep instead of going home with his wife. Also, he's surprised by this. Enter Mary, who tells he can't leave because her husband Rufus is coming up the stairs. R dives into the nearest hiding place, Rufus comes in, and he is--drumroll please--trapped in the closet. So Mary and Rufus start getting their freak on (are the kids still saying that?), and R. Kelly gets mad, but while he's seething, his cell phone rings. So he does the sensible thing and pulls a gun on Rufus while he's stalking around the apartment looking for his wife's paramour.

End Chapter 1. And believe me, that doesn't even come close to how insipid this thing actually is. For one thing, it's the most unnecessary video ever because Kelly is singing everything that goes on, and the other actors just mouth along with what he's singing whenever he does their dialogue.

My favorite part? Think of that song from Space Jam and then imagine if in the middle he caterwauled "I quickly try to put it on viiiiiiiiiibrate!"

In Chapter 2, Rufus and Mary--who is actually named Cathy--have a big argument, all while being held at gunpoint by R. Kelly, who says he wants to solve the problem "Christian-like," while pointing his piece at Rufus's head. But Rufus plays his trump card on the unfaithful Mary/Cathy: HE's been having an affair too! WITH A MAN!

See, Rufus has been trapped in the closet too, but THIS time it's a metaphor! Ah-what a twist!

Chapter 3. When he tries to call home and some guy answers the phone (which is a better rhyme than you'll find in this train wreck, by the way), R. Kelly finally realizes he's in the second segment of Four Rooms and decides to get the hell out of there. He bails, leaving Cathy, Rufus (who, incidentally, is a pastor), and Rufus's partner on the Down-Low Express, Chuck to their own devices.

In Chapter 4, he's in such a hurry that he gets pulled over by a cop--complete with R. Kelly making the siren noise in the song, I swear to God--who gives him a ticket, even though he's just escaped from a bad episode of the Red Shoe Diaries.

Finally, he gets home to confront his lady for her suspected infidelity, which she explains by saying her brother Tron answered the phone. Then they immediately start having sex, in one of the most unintentionally hilarious attempts at eroticism that I've seen in my entire life. ("Then she cries out 'Oh my goodness, I'm about to cliiiiii-max!' / And I say 'Cool, fine, just let go my leg!'") But then he finds a used condom in the bed.

Did I mention that every chapter ends with a little reverb, so that when he says "I pull back the co-ver / oh my God a rub-ber!" you get a nice little echo effect that might just kill you if you're not ready for it?

I'd describe Chapter 5 as the "denoument," if literary terms crafted by mere mortals applied to this thing anymore. R. Kelly's mad at Mrs. Kelly because she had an affair, Mrs. Kelly's mad because R. Kelly had an affair (and also held three people hostage for about ten minutes, but she doesn't know about that part yet), and we find out that Mrs. Kelly's friend Roxanne introduced her to Chuck, who knows Rufus, whose wife Cathy went to high school with her, and THAT'S how she met the cop from Chapter 4!


I'm telling you, you've got to see it to truly appreciate its monolithic awfulness. But here's what makes it transcend our frail human ideas of good and bad:

Chapters 6-10 are on their way. They will have nothing to do with Chapters 1-5.

Chapters 11-15 will be the remix of Chapters 1-5.

And that's how R. Kelly ruined everything.


Blogger Phil Looney said...

Yeah, R. Kelly is rough. I've managed to steer clear of the videos, but I've had the misfortune of hearing the song all the time on the local "urban" station. I remeber when I found out it was a 5 part song. Usually when it would come on the radio, I would promptly change the station. But I noticed on flipping back after a while, it would still be on. I asked my wife one day "How long is that R. Kelly song." And she said "Oh no, it's not one song - it's a 5 part song!

7/19/2005 8:02 AM

Blogger Mark W. Hale said...

Jimmy Kimmel did a fairly hilarious parody of this, concerning his quest to regain a lost slice of leftover pizza, complete with threatening his uncle Frank with a gun.

He showed the first chapter before showing the parody, for those of us unfortunate enough to live in a home without cable television. Every word you say is true. I am overjoyed I don't have to see the rest of this crap... crap... crap... crap... crap....

7/19/2005 1:48 PM

Blogger Jim Shelley said...

Wow, a Concept Rap Song (or whatever it is R Kelly does.) Definitely sounds horrible.

Let's face it. Concept Albums should best be left to Heavy Metal Bands intent on saving us from Evil Robot Overlords. (I'm looking at you Styx.)

Anything else is just silly.

7/19/2005 4:37 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Have I ever told you guys about the twenty-four chapter "Mr. Roboto" fanfiction I once found? It'll make your hair curl, it will.

7/19/2005 8:38 PM


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