What, exactly, was R. Kelly thinking when he started recording "Trapped in the Closet," his magnum opus (of sorts) that is premiering its latest chapters on IFC this week? Did he think he had a mainstream hit on his hands? Is he playing a joke on us? Does he exist in a bizarre alternate universe where this truly is a quality song/music video/whatever it is? Is he punking the entertainment industry? Is he trying to make us laugh? And, if so, should we be laughing with him or at him?
I tried to resist "Trapped in the Closet" when I first heard about it, but I finally caved and watched the first chapter — still a classic, in my mind, given that it features the actual scene with R. literally trapped in the closet. From there, I was a "Trapped" evangelist, insisting to everyone who would listen that this might be the biggest pop culture trainwreck ever. I even watched the commentary on the DVD of the first 12 chapters, incredulous at how R. clearly thinks he's got an Oscar-worthy project on his hands. But I'm still surprised that he pulled off the coup of getting IFC — which I thought was a relatively credible network devoted to promoting independent film — involved. Maybe "Trapped" isn't something to be mocked anymore. Maybe it's serious art.
Or not. I'm so blinded by the bizarreness that I can't tell anymore. So, "Trapped" watchers, I'm giving you the ultimate challenge: Justify this project in the comments below. If you're uninitiated, and you want to see a recap of the first 12 chapters with some fairly NSFW swearing, just read more