Where were we? Oh yeah: “The Package.” Seven years ago (!), chapter 22 of R. Kelly’s bonkers hip-hopera series, Trapped in the Closet, ended with a series of phone calls, between pastor Chuck and nosy neighbor Rosy and our philandering protagonist Sylvester and stuttering Pimp Lucius and big Southern belle Bridget and many more, discussing “The Package,” which may or may not, but definitely is HIV. Also, there’s a midget. The chapter concluded with the voices slowly fading away, replaced onscreen with a “To Be Continued…” tease.
This Friday, IFC will to do just that, by airing the next volume of Kelly’s undisputed masterpiece. Is it great? Yes. Is it better than waiting in line for season five of CHiPs on DVD on Black Friday? Yes. Will it be the most important event of the holiday season? Yes. How do I know?
Well, last night, I attended a screening of the new chapters at New York’s Sunshine Theater, and not only did we get to see a sneak peek of The Adventures of Sylvester and Twan, but R. Kelly was in attendance and answered questions about the series. (If you’ll recall, when the original Trapped came out, he was still embroiled in his underage water sports controversy, so needless to say, Kelly was in a much better mood now than all those years ago.) While waiting in line to get inside the theater, a homeless woman stopped, looked at a series of R. Kelly posters that Sunshine had placed outside, took a second to gather her thoughts, and said to no one, yet everyone, “What a scary looking movie.”
It was that kind of a night.
1. The new chapters are just as good and as bonkers (and, to use an oft-repeated word by Kelly, “silly” — he also described himself as an astronaut, and Trapped is an alien) as the original 22, if not more so. They take on a different framing device this time, though, with Sylvester, Pimp Lucius, Rosie, etc. being interviewed on a mysterious Jerry Springer-like TV show. There’s also an amazing minute-long scene involving Kelly giving directions.
2. Expect more details about Sylvester’s background with Pimp Lucius (and the pimp’s surprise parents), Rosie and Randolph’s martial problems, Tina and Roxanne’s relationship, Sylvester and Twan’s business deals, a new gangster character with shark-like metal teeth and a DMX-inspired rasp named Beeno, and best of all, a therapy session between Rufus and his wife, Cathy. No Sgt. James, as played by Michael K. Williams, though.
3. How many chapters of Trapped is Kelly planning? “I want everybody to know I’ve got 85 chapters of Trapped in the Closet waiting in the studio for y’all,” he said. “The chapters that are coming – the show, we call it – is going to exceed every chapter that you have ever seen.” More terrible green screen, please.
4. Trapped in the Closet is being adapted into a Broadway musical starring Kelly. YES. “And the winner of the Outstanding Nervous Eye Twitch By a Former Prostitute goes to…” He’s currently figuring out the logistics — how many characters can he play? will he travel with the show?, etc. — but soon, Big Man will be rubbing kneecaps with the ladies from Chicago.
5. Pimp Lucius is inspired by Kelly’s stepfather, who also stutters. No word on the blind prostitute.
6. Tyrese Gibson, he of Fast Five and Transformers fame, wanted in on Trapped, but Kelly turned him down, saying he only wants to cast largely unknown actors in the series.
7. R. KELLY ENDED THE Q&A BY SINGING A VERSE FROM “I BELIEVE I CAN FLY” AND I’M PRETTY SURE AT LEAST 29 VAGINAS MELTED AND EVERY MAN THERE FELT INSECURE FOR 30 MINUTES KNOWING THAT THEY’LL NEVER BE AS SMOOTH AS KELLS’S VOICE AND HE WORE RED LEATHER GLOVES AND SANG THE BEGINNING OF “BUMP AND GRIND” AND OUT-OF-CONTEXT SAID “WOW, LUKE [SKYWALKER] IS AWESOME” AND R. KELLY IS THE BEST. #soulacoaster