The year was 2005 and America was in need of change.
With airwaves being dominated by the likes of Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson and 50 Cent, the public sought a new kind of musical offering that truly represented the cultural climate — a “Hip Hopera” penned by an artist known by the masses as both the hitmaker behind “Ignition” and “I Believe I Can Fly” and the man who may or may not have been videotaped urinating on an under-aged girl.
R. Kelly weaved a literary web of love, secrets and betrayal when he released the 22-chaptered Trapped in the Closet videos from 2005-2007. When other artists pushed themselves to edit their works into a three-minute radio-friendly tune, Kelly churned out extended scenes with more supporting characters and backstories. When songwriters were cracking open thesauruses to freshen up their rhymes, Kelly addressed us regular folks with language we could all relate to (“And now I’m like well, well, well, what the fuck is this?/A condom in my bed? Ya better start talkin’, bitch/’Fore I take a match and burn this muthafucka down/I said you better start talkin’ and start talkin’ right god damn now”). When I think of the anticipation I felt as each new chapter was released, I must recognize R. Kelly as one of the more underappreciated comedic artists of our time. Too much? OK.
Five years after the last chapter descended upon us, R. Kelly has whipped up an additional 18 chapters of the saga (and, reportedly, another 30 coming in 2013) to be served up alongside your Thanksgiving leftovers (9 p.m. Friday, IFC).
I like to think R. Kelly is in on the joke, penning wildly inappropriate stories set to the same repetitive tune. I mean, how else could he have nabbed alt-Folk hero Will Oldham (Bonnie “Prince” Billy) and Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire) for his first installments? Regardless, this is the best way to witness hilarious over-the-top drama this holiday weekend without subjecting yourself to coupon-crazed Black Friday shoppers. To get in the spirit early, IFC will be running a TITC a marathon beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday.
WEDNESDAY NOV. 21
Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (8 p.m., ABC) – To all those stressing over holiday entertaining, Chuck feels your pain.
American Horror Story: Asylum (10 p.m., FX) – Damn you, Dr. Thredson! Bloody Face’s backstory is revealed. A mysterious young girl is abandoned at Briarcliff, where Arden and the Monsignor make a devilish pact.
The Soup (10:30 p.m., E!) – Immediately following E!’s weekly serving of piping hot pop culture funnies, enjoy this special edition, “The Soup Salutes WWE: Piledriving Clips in Your Face.”
THURSDAY NOV. 22
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (9 a.m. CBS, NBC) – The 52nd annual holiday tradition features the cast of Broadway’s Newsies, Henry “The Fonz” Winkler, Connie Britton and many others. Drinking game suggestion: Gobble up some alcoholic whipped cream (a staple at my dinner table) whenever someone uses the word “magical” or makes reference to a non-Thanksgiving holiday.
FRIDAY NOV. 23
Whisker Wars (Season Premiere, 10 p.m., IFC) – In the spirit of No Shave November, IFC presents a second season of what’s best described as testosterone-injected Toddlers and Tiaras. Watch in awe as these cutthroat beardos enter the wild world of competitive facial hair.
SUNDAY NOV. 25
Dexter (9 p.m., Showtime) – A power struggle within the Koshkas may prove fortuitous for Dexter as he tracks Isaak down. The Morgan incest plot resurfaces.
The Walking Dead (9 p.m., AMC) – Glen and Maggie are subjected to a new world of pain as the Governor seeks out information on the prison. Back at the prison, the group cautiously welcomes Michonne, who tells of her experience in Woodbury.
Boardwalk Empire (9 p.m., HBO) – Nucky and Eddie go into hiding with the help of Chalky and Richard (a much-anticipated collaboration). But Chalky gets caught in the middle when Gyp turns to him as he descends upon Atlantic City. Nucky may be a dead man walking, but after last week, all I can think is, “Poor Margaret!”
Homeland (10 p.m., Showtime) – Off the C.I.A.’s grid and believed to be dead, Brody meets with Abu Nazir, who doubts his commitment to the mission they’d planned. Mike is in charge of keeping the rest of the Body family safe in preparation for an imminent terrorist attack.
Extreme Cougar Wives (Series Premiere, 10 p.m., TLC) – Happy Holidays, everyone!
CONTACT JAC KERN : [email protected] or @jackern