Everything that is wrong in „Mozart in the Jungle“, season 2, episode 9: Amusia

So we’re onto season 2 of “Mozart in the Jungle” now! MIJ is a great show – it has perfect casting, witty scripts, great actors…and screenwriters who try to unsuccessfully imagine how the classical music scene works. Actually it sometimes even adds to the fun that they don’t have a clue, as we become witnesses to scenes and dialogue that would never happen in real life. Isn’t that what TV is about?
But as it is fun to nitpick here is a rundown of all the mistakes in season 2, episode by episode….
(Moritz Eggert)



  • Sometimes it’s unclear how famous Rodrigo really is. Doing a stint like this in a school class is definitely not unheard of, and there are many famous maestros who have done such education work because they deem it important (and it is). But I don’t know, this little class room, the forlorn kids…it all looks so desperate and second-rate. If Rodrigo was as famous as a typical current famous conductor the whole thing would be…bigger somehow, more PR-driven perhaps or at least a much bigger affair for the school itself, who would try hard to accommodate their famous guest.
  • 1:50 “Oh, brother” is too mild an expression for the frankly awful and completely unnecessary speech of the idiot guest conductor. What people underestimate is how time-driven orchestra rehearsals are. Every minute counts as the conductors desperately try to get as much efficient rehearsing together as they can in a limited time span. There is always too little time because of union regulations! Conductors do hold inspirational speeches from time to time, but it would have to be something really profound or important to get the orchestra musicians attention, and usually they would reserve it as a morale boost for the general rehearsal, much like a soccer coach trying to motivate his team directly before a game. But this speech at the beginning of a rehearsal would actually have somebody stand up and tell him that it is now time to work. Orchestra musicians can be very direct, also to famous people.
  • And the guy’s conducting sucks big time! Rodrigo gets away with his charm, but this guy is annoying AND bad!
  • 2:53 first of all, there was nothing bad about this solo. And it is not necessary play it completely alone to the conductor. Even if bitchy oboe was hated by half of the orchestra her colleagues would stand up for her against the idiot conductor’s behaviour which is totally out of bounds in this situation!
  • “This time just go for it! Have fun!”. These comments by the maestro-dick are extremely generic and unhelpful. No conductor talks like that!
  • 3:52 bitchy oboe’s reaction is completely understandable, but she is probably more angry at her colleagues WHO ARE SILENT WHILE A MEMBER OF THEIR ORCHESTRA IS PUBLICLY INSULTED FOR NO GOOD REASON! That the filmmakers use a perfectly played example to show “playing badly” doesn’t help…
  • 4:24 To my knowledge there is no “Quigley Whisky”, but there is a known whisky expert who is called like that. An in-joke?
  • “Pembridge’s marvelous music machine”? Shouldn’t that be “marvellous” with 2 l? Apparently the production designers have some spelling difficulties…5:08
  • 6:20 the music supposedly coming from the mini-accordion couldn’t be produced by the instrument shown, as it misses the keys to produce it – and Pembridge does the wrong movements.
  • At 11:16 you can briefly see that the actress has a tattoo on her arm and the make-up artists tried hard to conceal it, but didn’t expect that she would move around a lamp so that this is suddenly clearly visible!
  • 12:25: the chief conductor would never enter the concert hall from the foyer – he would surely come through the stage door as he must have entered the building through the artist’s entrance.
  • 12:58: the orchestra NEVER rehearses with the conductor directly before a concert backstage, and why the small formation then?
  • 14:18: Rodrigo stands up (finally!) to idiot-conductor, but technically can’t “fire” him – he has no job but has a contract as a guest conductor for one concert (or a small series of concerts). It’s no steady job, and the contract has been signed by the orchestra manager, not by Rodrigo.
  • 15:00 who did the atrocious eyebrow-makeup of Ludwig van? And the sentence with “Scheiße” doesn’t make sense, it’s definitely not German…
  • 16:30…these kind of announcements are always done in person (usually by the orchestra manager, Gloria should be there), never over loudspeakers. The audience would find that insulting!
  • 16:55…why does the audience not stop clapping? Turning your back to the audience because you are starting is a clear signal to stop for everybody.
  • 17:45, wow, that is a quick transition to the oboe solo- which happens many bars later in reality!
  • 18:20…and why does the Symphony end after the first movement??? The audience in this concert hall has the tendency to go crazy about very little doses of music…it happened before!
  • Standing ovations for parts of the first movement of Beethoven’s 5th Never happened in the history of music, even though it’s a fine piece.
  • That’s not how you give positions to oboe players. There is always an audition, even if it is rigged.
  • Why would it be such a scandal if Rodrigo had an affair with his oboist Hayley? He is not married (anymore) and can do what he wants (and she as well). It would not even be – technically – an “affair”, as both are single! Why such puritanism? Aren’t people allowed to have relationships anymore?

Moritz Eggert

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3 Antworten

  1. Evy sagt:

    Die Liste ist sehr interessant und ich bewundere, wie genau Sie hinsehen! Zwei Punkte waren für mich aber verständlich:

    Die Szene in der Schule: Ich denke, das war metaphorisch gemeint. Rodrigo hat ein Problem mit sich und versucht, etwas weiterzugeben, indem er in die Schule geht. Indem er etwas für andere tut, möchte er sich reinigen. Aber das klappt nicht. Selbst vor dieser kleinen Gruppe versagt er. Ich fand die Szene vor allem deswegen komisch, weil die Unterrichtsstunde nicht angekündigt war.

    3:52 – Die Tatsache, dass perfekt gespielte Passagen als „falsch“ bezeichnet werden, sollte dem Zuschauer zwei Dinge sagen: Dass der Dirigent doof ist oder dass der Zuschauer nicht genügend Bildung hat. Die Szene schafft bewusst Distanz zwischen die Zuhörer und sagt „Du kannst nicht heraushören, was richtig ist“. Damit untermauert sie ihre Autorität. Und das Vertrauen. Das Orchester weiß, was es spielen soll. Wenn ich mir die Szene anders vorstellen, dass das Orchester hörbar falsch spielt, dann wäre die Szene zu lustig. Der Fokus läge nicht darauf, dass der Dirigent herrisch ist oder dass es Spannungen innerhalb des Orchesters gibt. Sondern darauf, dass jemand falsch spielt. Man hätte Mitleid. Und das sollte vielleicht nicht im Vordergrund stehen.

  2. @Evy: Von einem künstlerischen Standpunkt (Drehbuch/Regie) hast Du absolut Recht, danke für die ausführlichen Kommentare! Der Spaß beim „Nitpicken“ liegt ja vor allem darin, die Szenen mit der Wirklichkeit zu vergleichen und sie auf Realismus zu prüfen. Da sehen auch die meisten Krimis in ihrer meist vollkommen erfundenen Darstellung von Polizeiarbeit ziemlich alt aus…Nichtsdestotrotz schauen viele Polizisten gerne Krimis und amüsieren sich königlich über die filmischen Erfindungen. Und ich schaue gerne „Mozart in the Jungle“, auch wenn es mit der Wirklichkeit wenig zu tun hat! (und manchmal überraschenderweise dann doch, das hebe ich auch gerne hervor)

  3. Evy sagt:

    Das verstehe ich und ich finde das sehr bereicherend :-) Ich finde die Serie gut, weil sie mir als Außenstehende ein Thema beibringt, von dem ich gehört habe, in das ich aber nicht involviert bin. Es geht nicht um Ärzte, die private Probleme lösen müssen, sondern man erfährt tatsächlich etwas über Orchester. Ich denke, viele Menschen bewundern diese „Institutionen“ dafür, dass sie ein Instrument spielen und vor Leuten auftreten.