R. Kelly took yesterday off but came back with a vengeance today in Trapped in the Closet: Chapter 21 (available now at IFC.com). We've asked performance artist Neal Medlyn, co-creator of the musical Kenny Mellman + Neal Medlyn = Robert Kelly, to walk us through it.
Recap: Twan and Sylvester are off again on a mysterious errand, this time to see a mobster.
Medlyn: Of all the new episodes so far, this one is the first misfire, but I'd stop short of calling it a total wash. The whole conceit of Twan’s dream and the creepy surreality of it are done better elsewhere, and the Tony Soprano business feels forced. But it all feels worth it when we see Sylvester change into something more comfortable: another suit.
I think what's most troubling, to me anyway, is that the actor playing the mobster reminds me way too much of a few overzealous, pretentious extras I’ve worked with. I can almost see him practicing his pinky-extension hand gestures and tough-guy cigar techniques in a corner of the set and that freaks me out.
Still, as a set piece that interrupts the action, I’m kind of partial to the whole “now for something completely different” feel of this. A friend once told me that to write a novel, you had to be willing to write the boring parts, and that's what R. Kelly has done here. Even if it's not the best of the new episodes, we still get to hear Kellz's Italian accent!
Trapped in the Closet: Chapter 21 [IFC.com]