The Sick, The Strange and the Awful Reviews – Trapped in the Closet


Many great works of art have pieces taken from them, which are then re-imagined into something fit for mass consumption, and are far more successful because it. A lot of musical covers (though Duran Duran covering Public Enemy’s ‘911 is a Joke’ was never going sound relevant) and the random 60’s songs Tarantino crams into his movies can cross into the public eye to widespread knowledge, if not acclaim.

Yes, South Park had a famous episode, maybe close to their best known, where Tom Cruise and R Kelly are trapped in a closet, and R Kelly feels the need to pull out his gun at everything. Everyone knows it. But who actually knew that there was a real ‘Trapped in the Closet’? And who knew exactly how awesome it was?

Basically put, Trapped in the Closet is a soap opera set entirely to hip hop music, or what Kelly calls a ‘hip-hopera’. All the characters are voiced by him, and he pulls a Klump by playing a shitload of them on the screen, ranging from his obviously suave alter ego Sylvester to a fat, drunk old man, to stuttering Pimp Lucious. He also occasionally appears as himself to narrate the story from nearby (usually in a closet), and other characters cannot see him.

But the best part about Trapped is just how ridiculous it is. There are more twists than a year of The Bold and Beautiful,  as everyone is banging everyone else, everyone knows everyone else even if they think they don’t, and yes, R Kelly cocks the trigger at even the most inopportune time. Also, Omar from The Wire in a police uniform fights a black stripper midget that’s shat his pants!

Here’s the proof, if you needed it!

There are so many hilarious moments in Trapped that I can’t describe them all. Sure, it’s all dumb, really dumb, but that’s the point. Like any other soap opera, it hooks you in, as you learn that you cannot begin to predict what will happen next. There are 22 chapters in this 85 minute video, and at the end of every single one is a cliffhanger of some kind, some genuinely dramatic, and some about an old nosy neighbour threatening Kelly with a spatula, or a midget fainting. It’s a mixed bag.

The rapping is actually rather well done, without too many stupid rhymes or parts that just sound wrong. It’s the same beat throughout, but it never grates, and Kelly keeps good flow with it. And some of the lines just make me laugh, like Sylvester’s reluctance at opening ‘another mutherfucking door’ and his brother-in-law, smoking a joint whilst driving, gets tailed by cops so he randomly screams “I’m Rick James bitch!” with a James song in the background.

It’s really goofy and silly, but there are actually somewhat affecting moments, which I won’t spoil of course, but the ending (at least for now) carries a lot of weight, especially with the activities that came before it. And I am genuinely buoyed by news that as of this year there will be parts 23 onwards, which is awesome.

Push the overplayed South Park quotes out of your head, and strap yourself in for one of the most memorable and entertaining piece of film imaginable.

Things I learnt:

  • A good response to “I love you” is “love my ass!”
  • ‘Dyking’ is a word (*hint hint* lesbians do it).
  • Infidelity can be forgotten in seconds and laughed away.
  • Mob bosses literally spend all day eating pasta, even during business.