South Park

Season 9 Episode 12

Trapped in the Closet

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Nov 16, 2005 on Comedy Central
out of 10
User Rating
735 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Stan finds out that he's depressed after taking a test given to him by Scientologists. After joining his new religion, the other members realize that he is the reincarnation of their leader. Upon hearing this, the Scientology masses arrive outside his house, but several members end up in the closet instead.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?


    Check the credits of this classic. Written . produced and directed by Mr SMITH oen will take screen when they got MR SMITH could be served. No John Smith here your honor. I wonder what "NICOLE" thinks about this episode LOL
  • Clever and brilliant. A very important episode in the series' history because of the controversy.

    This episode was brilliant. The humor was clever but still had that 'crossing the line' brand of funny. I loved the fact that they used the whole, "trapped in the closet" metaphor and relentlessly mocked them in the classic south park style. Before they did this, no one had the guts to say anything about them. The way I look at it was that they took on the bullies in the school yard. It reminds me of a movie that was similar in topic and comedy style, Mind Polish: Master Hubbard's Special Reserve. This was also a parody of scientology and had that extreme humor that ticks people off. I think that movie goes farther though, of course. It's a movie so they can get away with stuff you can't on tv. I just like anything that tackles a topic your not supposed to talk about on tv and goes "way too far." This episode was historical because it caused so much controversy. In fact, they stopped airing it for awhile because Tom Cruise threatened to not promote Mission Impossible, which was made by comedy central's parent company paramount. Not only did they not back down but they did another episode in response to Isaac Hayes' departure from the show as result of trapped in the closet. They also did a two parter about freedom of speech regarding family guy but it was obvious what they were trying to say. It spawned a total of 3 other episodes to comment on the response of this episode and I think the filmmaker behind Mind Polish was probably inspired by this episode.moreless
  • Episode 12, Season 9: Trapped in the Closet

    Having never seen this episode on Paramount, and having heard all the media hubbubb about this episode, I thought I'd go check it up on the internet to see if it was really as great an episode as everyone says. The outcome? I think it is a pretty good episode, with a large amount of humourous moments and a typically South Park storyline, but not quite as mind blowing as it was hyped up to be. Having said that, it is still a very funny episode and continues to push the boundaries of how far South Park is prepared to go to amuse people, and how little they care about pushing controvertial buttons. 8.8/10moreless
  • You just end up laughing at it too much for being so ridiculous!

    "Trapped In The Closet"

    GRADE: A*

    I found this episode hilarious, because of the way Matt and Trey told the truth about Scientology and how ridiculous the whole religion is. I mean, brainwashed alien souls, emeters, aliens. The whole thing is absolutely stupid. Guys like Tom Cruise and John Travolta as Scientologists think the religion helps them, when the truth is that it was made up by some idiotic writer who ended up making loads of money out of the religion.

    The episode starts with Stan taking a Scientology Personality test and they say he's a depressed kid. They said if he pays the money to join Scientology he'd become a happier person again. He pays it, and does an emeter reading. When the reading reads OT9, the Scientologists think this is a problem, but then the headquarters discover that Stan is the reincarnation of L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.

    So everyone starts praising Stan for being the new L Ron Hubbard, until he discovers Tom Cruise in his bedroom. He asks Stan what he thinks of his movies, but Stan thinks he's ok. Feeling depressed and upset, Tom runs into the closet, locking the door. They try to get Tom out of the closet, but no luck.

    Just then, the other Scientologists want Stan to carry on L Ron Hubbard's work. They first tell him the big Scientology secret (which is a load of crap) and then he starts to write.

    However, once the president of Scientology tells Stan that the whole Scientology thing is one big money scam, Stan refuses to continue and says the whole Scientology religion is a big fake. Tom comes out of the closet, and everyone is threatening to sue Stan for mocking their religion.

    Just goes to show. This episode only speaks the truth. Did you know that the voice of Chef, Issac Hayes, left because of this episode? What a joke! It's only Scientology and everyone knows it's all made up. When you watch this episode, you just end up laughing at them for being so stupid. Sometimes you wonder why the whole religion existed in the first place!

    There were some very funny moments in it as well, such as Stan insulting Tom Cruise with his honest opinions about him. R Kelly threatening everyone with a gun. John Travolta's "OH MY GAWD!" and when the president of Scientology tells Stan that Scientology is a load of crap. This episode shows what South Park is really all about. Mocking religions, mocking things, stupid plots, and clever moments.moreless
  • stanietology

    the episode's main plot is stan joins the church of scientology and gtes the same scientology rate as scientology founder l.ron hubbard and think stan is his reincarnation . all, scientologists come to south park to see stan including tom cruise. when stan says he doesn't like tom cruise's acting , tom locks himself in stan's closet. john travolta and r kelly later joined him. in my honest opinion the episode was decent nothing to get all hiped up about but still great nevertheless. the ending was a bit stupid but i liked it when nicole kidman was trying to talk tom out of what he was doing and mentioned katie holmes. lol. it was decent but it wasn't the best.moreless
Trey Parker

Trey Parker

Voice of Stan Marsh; Eric Theodore Cartman; Herbert Garrison; Officer Barbrady; Terrance; Timmy; Ned Gerblanski; Satan; Randy Ma

Matt Stone

Matt Stone

Voice of Kyle Broflovski; Kenny McKormick; Gerald Broflovski; Pip Pirrup; Jesus; Jimbo Kearn; Phillip; Saddam; Various Others

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • One of the aliens seen being frozen by Xenu is a Marklar.

    • John Travolta seems to be portraying his characters from Grease and Saturday Night Fever with the heavy accent and "Oh my God" references, yet in the episode, The Entity, he speaks in a normal tone.

    • The alien souls look like colourful sperm.

    • If the interstellar overlord had planned on the souls escaping, wouldn't he have a plan for some science fiction writer figuring it all out and writing it down? Also, how would no-one else in human history have had even the slightest snippet of this info before L. Ron Hubbard discovered all of it?

      Response: Um, possibly because L. Ron Hubbard didn't think to go back and edit his STORY to cover up his giant, gaping plot-holes.

    • The scientologist's helicopter was named "L-Ron 7".

    • On Stan's closet door, there is a Denver Broncos pennant. On the wall there's also a Broncos poster. Trey Parker is a Broncos fan.

    • The president of Scientology said he waited 42 years for L. Ron Hubbard to get reincarnated. However, L. Ron died in 1986, so he only waited 19 years.

  • QUOTES (26)

    • Scientology President: You see, Stan, there is a reason for people feeling sad and depressed. An alien reason. It all began 75 million years ago. Back then there was a galactic federation of planets which was ruled over by the evil Lord Xenu. Xenu thought his galaxy was overpopulated, and so he rounded up countless aliens from all different planets, and then had those aliens frozen. The frozen alien bodies were loaded onto Xenu's galactic cruisers, which looked like DC-8s, except with rocket engines. The cruisers then took the frozen alien bodies to our planet, Earth, and dumped them into the volcanoes of Hawaii. The aliens were no longer frozen, they were dead. The souls of those aliens, however, lived on, and all floated up towards the sky. But the evil Lord Xenu had prepared for this. Xenu didn't want their souls to return! And so he built giant soul-catchers in the sky! The souls were taken to a huge soul brain-washing facility, which Xenu had also built on Earth. There the souls were forced to watch days of brainwashing material which tricked them into believing a false reality. Xenu then released the alien souls, which roamed the earth aimlessly in a fog of confusion. At the dawn of man, the souls finally found bodies which they could grab onto. They attached themselves to all mankind, which still to this day causes all our fears, our confusions, and our problems. L. Ron Hubbard did an amazing thing telling the world this incredible truth. Now all we're asking you to do is pick up where he left off.

    • Stan: …Huh?
      Brian: Yeah, I'm afraid that you are completely miserable and totally depressed.
      Stan: I am? I didn't know that!

    • Kyle: Oh dude, check it out. I got a Jake Plummer.
      Cartman: Aw man, I got a crappy AJ Feeley again!
      Kyle: How come you didn't buy any cards, Stan?
      Stan: I can't spend any money. I'm saving up for that bike I want.
      Cartman: Saving money! Duh!

    • Randy Marsh: Mr. Cruise, come out of the closet.

    • Brian: Well, what seems to be the… Oh hi Greg!
      Stan: Stan.
      Michelle: Can you look at his Thetan levels.
      Brian: Well, get another E Meter this one's obviously broken. Sorry about this Greg.

    • Brian: Well I think Scientology can really make you happy again.
      Stan: Well, what do I do?
      Brian: It's very simple. We just need $240.

    • Brian: Well, Stan I hate to tell ya this but… You are one messed up kid.

    • R. Kelly: (singing, as the closet door shuts behind him and he is stuck with Tom Cruise) Oh!… And now I'm in the closet.

    • John Travolta: (In his "Welcome Back, Kotter" accent.) Is this where he lives? Is this where L. Ron Hubbard is? Oh my Gawd!

    • John Travolta: Tom you got to come out the closet, oh my gawd!

    • Stan: What if I become suicidal, or, or become an alcoholic like Grampa?
      Grampa: Huh?

    • Reporter: It's been four hours now, and Tom Cruise still will not come out of the closet. Hundreds of onlookers here have gathered here in hopes that the celebrity will finally give in.
      Police Officer: (to Tom Cruise) Tom Cruise, this is Park County police! Please come out of the closet. Everybody here just wants you to come out of the closet, Tom. Nobody's gonna be mad, everything's gonna be all right. Just come out of the closet.

    • Stan: Look, is this a religion? Because my family is like, Catholic or something.
      Brian: Oh, that's not a problem at all. Scientology is more of an alternative to psychology than a religion.
      Stan: Then how come that sign says "Church of Scientology"?
      Brian: Oh, that's just a thing. (changes subject) What's the Denver Broncos' record now? Six and two?
      Stan: Seven and two.
      Brian: Wow! That's great!

    • Stan: I can't spend any money.
      Cartman: Okay, be a Jew. We're gonna go play laser tag.
      Kyle: Yeah, see ya.

    • (Stan believes in Scientology)
      Scientology President: Wait a minute, whoa, whoa! You don't actually believe this crap, do you? Dummy! Brainwashed alien souls? E-meters and thetan levels? Those people out there buy that crap and I thought you were smart enough to see what was really going on!
      Stan: But you said that there were -
      Scientology President: What's better than telling people a stupid story and having them believe you? Having them pay you for it, stupid!
      Stan: But then, why me? Why do you need me to write something so badly?
      Scientology President: Because if those people all think you're the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard, then they'll all buy your new writings, and you and I together will make $3,000,000!
      Stan: $3,000,000?
      Scientology President: That's how the scam works! But this is a scam on a global scale! Do you f(bleep)ing get me now?

    • Nicole Kidman: Tom? Tom, it's Nicole.
      Tom Cruise: Uh, hi, Nicole.
      Nicole Kidman: Tom, don't you think this has gone on long enough? It's time for you to come out of the closet.
      Tom Cruise: I'm not, I'm not in the closet.
      Nicole Kidman: Yes you are, Tom. And you need to just end this and come out. I'm not gonna think any differently of you. Katie's not gonna think any differently of you. You don't need to be in that closet anymore, Tom.
      Tom Cruise: I'm not in here, though.
      Nicole Kidman: Yes, you are.
      Tom Cruise: I'm not, ...I'm not in the closet.
      Nicole Kidman: Then how am I talking to you, Tom? [pause] Tom, you can't hide forever just because the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard doesn't like your acting. Come out of the closet, Tom. You're not fooling anyone.
      Tom Cruise: I'm, I'm not, I'm not in here.

    • R. Kelly: (singing) Well I was just standing here, and Tom Cruise locked himself in the closet. I asked myself why won't Tom Cruise just come out the closet? Nobody has no answers, and so I pull out my gun! Tell my why Tom Cruise in the closet or else I'm going to shoot someone!

    • Tom Cruise: (in the closet) Just leave me alone!
      Randy: Well, we can't leave you alone because you won't come out of the closet!

    • Randy: (about Tom Cruise) What did you say to him?
      Stan: I just told him I thought the Napoleon Dynamite guy is a better actor than he is.
      Randy: Oh boy.

    • Tom Cruise: Haven't I done well, L. Ron? Haven't you enjoyed my acting? Which film did you like best?
      Stan: Well. I mean, you're not, you're not like as good as Leonardo di Caprio, but you're okay, I guess.
      Tom Cruise: What?
      Stan: I mean, you're not Gene Hackman or that guy who played Napoleon Dynamite, but you're okay.
      Tom Cruise: I'm nothing. I'm a failure in the eyes of the Prophet! (runs in the closet)

    • Stan: Let's just do something fun that's free.
      Cartman: Stan, don't you know the first law of physics? Anything that's fun costs at least $8.

    • Tom Cruise: So you're not the prophet, huh? You made me look stupid! I'm gonna sue you too!
      Stan: Well fine! Go ahead and sue me!
      Tom Cruise: I will! I'll sue you in England!
      Scientology President: You are so sued, kid!
      Stan: Well go on, then! Sue me!
      Scientology President: We're going to!
      Stan: Okay, good! Do it! I'm not scared of you! Sue me!

    • Stan: Dad, Tom Cruise won't come out of the closet!

    • (R. Kelly, Tom Cruise, and John Travolta sing about being in the closet)
      R. Kelly: I've been asked to come up here, get you both out of the closet. Man, this is some crazy shit. Why won't you both just come out the closet?
      And they said -
      Tom Cruise & John Travolta: We're not comin' out the closet, so you can just go away.
      R. Kelly: But everyone wants you out the closet.
      Tom Cruise & John Travolta: That doesn't matter 'cause we're gonna stay.
      R. Kelly: Now I'm startin' to get angry, so I pull out my gun! I'm gonna give you a count of three to open this closet door. One, I'm gonna shoot you both. Two, I'm gonna cap some bitch. Three - (the door opens and R. Kelly goes in) Now I'm in the closet. Now I'm in the closet too.

    • R. Kelly: (singing) I was just standing here. Tom Cruise locked himself in the closet. Then John Travolta come and now, John Travolta in the closet too. Please, Tom Cruise and John Travolta come out the closet! But then I calm myself down, and I pull out my gun! (everyone runs away and screams)
      News Reporter: Oh jeez! Here we go with the gun again (runs away)
      R.Kelly: (grabs woman) If Tom Cruise and John Travolta don't come out the closet, I'm gonna cap this bitch!

    • Cartman: Stan, I just want you to know that I still hate Kyle more than you.

  • NOTES (10)

    • In 2008, The Emmys Academy chose the most memorable comedy TV moments. The scene where John Travolta joins Tom Cruise in the closet, was in the top 5.

    • At the end of the episode you can see that all the names in the credits are either John or Jane Smith, presumably so Tom Cruise can't sue as he threatened to do at the end of the episode.

    • This episode was nominated for the 2006 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour)".

    • The same week that Isaac Hayes quit the show over the "religious bigotry" of the episode, the episode was due to air again as part of the normal rotation. The episode was pulled and replaced with the Chef-centered episode "Chef's Salty Chocolate Balls."

      Tom Cruise reportedly threatened Paramount, which is owned by Viacom, which owns Comedy Central, that if the episode aired again that he wouldn't do publicity work for the upcoming "Mission: Impossible III." Cruise's representatives denied the allegation, stating that "he didn't threaten to pull publicity of 'Mission: Impossible III'." They didn't say whether he threatened to do something else, however.

      Parker and Stone, who were reportedly told to keep quiet on the reason the episode was pulled, placed a full-page ad in Variety with the following statement:

      "So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!! -- Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants for the overlord Xenu"

    • Isaac Hayes, who is a Scientologist and didn't appear in the episode, quit the show (just before the next season was going to go into production) after the ensuing publicity over the episode, citing that he couldn't take the religious "bigotry" and "insensitivity" of the show. Show creator Matt Stone, on the show's website (posted 13 Mar), said that Hayes didn't complain when the show made fun of other religions such as Christians, Mormons, and Jews.

      This was just a rumor. Isaac Hayes had a stroke at around this time when this episode came out. So that is the real reason for his absence. Also the church of Scientology is believed to have started the rumor but Hayes never said that was the reason himself. It put a strain on his relations with the church.

    • This episode will not be aired in the UK due to Tom Cruise complaining to Paramount. They didn't think it was worth taking the risk to get sued over by airing the episode.

    • There is no Operating Thetan level 9, or OT9, in the Church of Scientology. It only goes up to OT8. Stan being OT9 is a plot device.

    • When the Scientology president tells Stan the story about the aliens and stuff, you see this caption on screen "This is what scientologists actually believe." The story they are telling is the Operating Thetan level III, or OTIII, story that most Scientologists pay big money to hear. Most lower level Scientologists didn't know about this aspect of Scientology until the age of the Internet.

    • Isaac Hayes' going uncredited was likely because Isaac Hayes is a scientologist.

    • For "fear of being sued" all of the traditional end credits list the males as "John Smith" and the females as "Jane Smith." Also the traditional screen that showed the credit for Isaac Hayes wasn't seen here, even in joke form, which makes this the first episode where Isaac Hayes hasn't been credited.


    • Scientology/Star Wars:

      This episode reveals that Stan's Thetan levels are OT9, higher than any other living creatures. The president of Scientology decides that Stan, a mere child, is the second coming of L. Ron Hubbard.

      In a strange parallel, a young Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars has the highest known number of midi-chlorians, even higher than experienced Jedi masters. Qui-Gon Jinn believes that Anakin is "The Chosen One."

    • Katie Holmes:

      Stan: Look, is this a religion? Because my family is like, Catholic or something.

      Katie Holmes has recently started studying Scientology, and Tom Cruise claims that this has no interference with her Roman Catholic upbringing.

    • Xenu, Alien Souls and Volcanoes:

      This story was also told in L. Ron Hubbard's novel Battlefield Earth. This book is more than 800 pages long and probably cheaper than joining the Church of Scientology.

    • Coming Out:

      Stan: Dad! Tom Cruise won't come out of the closet!

      The expression "coming out of the closet" means telling a secret that you've hidden for a long time, usually about being gay. In 2001, speculations and rumors said that Tom Cruise was gay.

    • Trapped In The Closet:

      R. Kelly made a 12 part music video soap opera with this title. In the videos, the main character narrates all of his actions and dialogue, just like was portrayed in this episode.