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Trapped in the Closet is a series of songs and music videos by the R&B singer-songwriter and record producer R. Kelly. The series was heavily parody in the media and online due to the absurd situations and subject matter.
The first chapter of of “Trapped in the Closet” was released on April 5th, 2005, which tells the story of the narrator Sylvester (played by Kelly) who awakes in a woman’s bed after meeting her the previous night at a club. When he attempts to leave, her husband arrives and she urges him to hide in the closet. The videos for the first five chapters were released from May to June of 2005.
R. Kelly’s seventh studio album TP.3 Reloaded was relased on July 5th, 2005, which included the first five chapters of the series. On July 15th, Jimmy Kimmel aired a parody titled “The Pizza,” which was released bi-weekly in six chapters.
On August 2nd, Something Awful published a Cliff’s Notes summary of the first five chapters. On August 10th, the DIY filmmaker website No Film School (now removed) released a remix of the first five chapters titled “Out of the Closet,” which re-sequenced Kelly’s own words to sound as if he was singing about his sexual exploits with men. On October 2nd, 2005, the sketch comedy television show MADtv aired a parody titled “Trapped in the Cupboard,” in which Kelly (played by Jordan Peele) argues with his wife over breakfast cereal (shown below).
On November 1st, a DVD was released for chapters one through 12. On November 16th, the animated television series South Park ran an episode titled “Trapped in the Closet,” which satirized the R. Kelly music videos (shown below, left). On September 26th, 2006, satirist “Weird Al” Yankovic released a parody song titled “Trapped in the Drive-Thru” (shown below, right).
On August 21st, 2007, a DVD was released for chapters 13-22 and on December 11th, all 22 chapters were released on DVD. On September 10th, 2009, YouTuber caosextremo3 uploaded a playlist of the first 22 chapters from the series, receiving a total of 30 million views in the next three years. On January 31st, 2010, YouTuber chargersrule85 created a playlist for the 22 chapters, which received a total of 5.9 million views within three years. In March of 2011, the music video company Vevo released the entire series to view on YouTube, which received an average of 956,494 views per video as of November 20th, 2012. On December 21st, 2011, the entertainment news blog TMZ published a post titled “R. Kelly – I’ve Written 32 New Chapters of ‘Trapped in the Closet’”, reporting that Kelly was looking for funding to continue the series (shown below).
On March 21st, 2012, Kelly announced that the American cable TV network IFC would release chapters 23 and beyond, which would begin airing on November 23rd. On November 20th, 2012, Gawker published an article titled “No, But Seriously, This Is Awesome: R. Kelly’s Fantastically Absurd Trapped in the Closet Is Coming to Broadway”, reporting that Kelly announced he had received an offer to do a Broadway version of the music video series in which he would be performing in several cities.
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