Monday, August 29, 2005

R. Kelly—Portent of Doom

The time has come to start scanning the skies for winged horsemen. Lo! the end is upon us.

You know something god-awful has happened if Hurricane Katrina, cutting her inexorable path of destruction toward the city of New Orleans even as I write this, is only the second most obvious sign of the impending apocalypse. That something would be R. Kelly's debut of the sixth installment in his R&B soap opera Trapped in the Closet on MTV's Video Music Awards Sunday night.

Kelly arrived on Diddy's white carpet wearing a t-shirt that read "I'm Rick James, Bitch," which would have been funny if it wasn't so uncomfortably close to the (alleged) truth. Unavoidably (and, I fear, unintentionally) hilarious, however, was Kelly's VMA performance in which he lip-synced to his inexplicably popular bed-hopping melodrama, acting out all the roles himself in an absolute car crash of a one-man show. (Click here to read my review of the first five chapters of Trapped in the Closet, in which I establish my R. Kelly-hater cred.)

The highlight of the performance was the unveiling of the sixth chapter of a promised (threatened?) ten-part urban morality play. The new episode picks up at Cathy and Rufus' apartment after our Glock-toting hero has left to confront his own cheating wife. Reverend Rufus is torn (literally) between his wife and his gay lover, Chuck, who pulls a knife and threatens to kill Cathy. The segment ends with Rufus kissing Chuck (the only act that R. wouldn't pantomime, proving that there actually are limits to his spirit of sexual adventure) before telling him that he's going back to his wife.

Chapter 6 provided a little taste for his fans to whet their appetite for the final four episodes while leaving several questions for people to ponder. What will become of our hero and his unfaithful wife? Will he confront the cop who is her lover? Will it be physically possible to listen to all ten chapters in a row without bleeding from the ears? Only time will tell.

Other highlights from the Video Music Awards:
  • Sean Puffy Puff P. Daddy Diddy Combs changed his name again. Did you notice? His name is now Diddy, but I hear he also answers to The Flop.
  • Jessica Simpson was waylaid backstage and had to give her presentation wearing only half a dress. It was not sexy. I only hope her good-girl image doesn't suffer because of it.
  • Apparently Hillary Duff was also assaulted backstage and had to present with only half of her cheekbones.
  • MC Hammer still retains the power to embarrass himself, after all these years.
  • Oh, I think they handed out some awards, too. Here's the list if you care. Don't know why you would, though, what with the end of the world and all.
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