Everything that is wrong in „Mozart in the Jungle“, season 4, episode 1 „The Boyfriend“

Rodrigo is back! And this time he has to manage a household with dozens of kids, as Hailey has morphed into an uncontrollable birthing machine…no wait, it was a dream!
As the lovable series about classical musicians arguing, doing drugs and having lots of sex starts its 4th season, the writers are clearly on the look for new and crazy ideas to keep Rodrigo busy (he’s a social worker! he’s a waiter! he’s a philosopher!), Pembridge in the picture (he teaches Hailey! he humps Gloria! he’s a pop star!) and Hailey as lovable as possible (she’s a talented conductor! she teaches tweeting kids! she visits her parents!).
Of course this also means that a lot of stuff is going on that would never happen in real life classical music world. Or would it? Let’s find out…

1) 1:44 …as always when actors pretend to fluently speak German in American TV shows…it is absolute gibberish and would not be understood by „Horst“ (perhaps one of the rarest German names in this generation – Rodrigo is lucky to have one on the phone, it’s like finding a unicorn!). And why is he switching languages mid-conversation?


2) 2:50 …it’s a good joke by Shawn about the deaf tuba player. But…come on, a deaf tuba player? Wouldn’t he be a „former“ tuba player?
There are lots of jokes about tuba players, but in their profession they still have to hear what they play.

3) 6:20 „it’s a little bit late“ as a general statement of the 2nd oboe’s playing in the rehearsal is so incredibly vague, that even Bernstein couldn’t make it sound convincing. „Playing with no blood“ is no better, it’s just to clichéd to be acceptable, even if we know Rodrigo’s agenda here…

4) 7:00 Even though it looks like „tickling an elephant’s balls“…this is exactly what many conductors do with their left hand! Now I know how it is called – thanks, „Mozart in the Jungle“!

5) 9:20 The conductor is beating some other meter here, and the children play quintuplets against it, but I guess the editor didn’t care because he thought they were supposed to sound off-beat. But in fact these quintuplets would be difficult to play, even for professionals!

6) „Fritz“, the other conductor (I only know his name because…“Amazon X-Ray!“), seems to be a bit of a dick. If Rodrigo wants to do Beethoven’s 5th as the main conductor it’s him who will be blamed if it sucks, not his assistant. Or perhaps „Fritz“ (a friend of „Horst“?) was dreading to hammer the parts of Beethoven’s 5th into those little brains while Rodrigo is elsewhere. But it would be better than those awful quintuplet scales!

7) 12:40…just imagine this scene: you want to make a cup of mate-tea and put the water on the stove. Than you proceed to sit down with your girlfriend in an – extremely elaborate I might add – complex position on a sofa. THEN you set up a complete chess game on a tilting chessboard, play a couple of moves while you elaborately ponder them….and only AFTER ALL THAT the water is boiling? What is this – the world’s slowest tea kettle????

8) 13:51 Hayley is already making „a name of herself“? After having a couple of private lessons with Pembridge and no public appearances yet except that awful Czech show from last season? Oh, later we learn she is exclusively playing that club, making a „name“. She might be a local name („the girl who conducts this experimental contemporary music ensemble playing in that weird club“) but not an international one.

8) 14:20…This nice relaxed conversation between two horny couples seems to come out of the 70’s, not the me-too-angst-ridden 2010’s. Just sayin`…

9) Why is Lizzie so bitchin‘ to her best friend? Hailey hasn’t done anything to deserve a cascade of snappy remarks that seem to come out of nowhere. Maybe Hailey was an ass to her before the camera appeared? Is it because Hailey plays „contemporary female composers“? Why is Lizzie suddenly so disillusioned with championing unknown works after doing only that for the last season? And with total and utter conviction? What happened to her uncanny idealism?

10) 17:50 what the boy played before „throwing in the fork“ was too unremarkable for even a stoned DeeDee to comment „you have some chops“. As a percussionist I would find it pretty insulting if somebody said „lame“ to me and then proceeded to play something completely unremarkable himself. So far this boy has been acting like a total brat in every situation, and yet Rodrigo seems to think he is so incredible that he has to do everything for him.

11) The idea that a busy main conductor who has phone calls with „Horst“ from Europe every day would find time to a) personally visit the family of an extremely difficult and obnoxious kid from the youth orchestra and b) work as an unpaid waiter in their restaurant every week at the same time is…funny, but no, won’t happen. And honestly – the restaurant seems to have a pretty highbwrow customer base – would they accept an 11-year old boy serving them cuisine?

12) Egon the choreographer is not thinking that all this Rodrigo waiting business is a kind of joke, which in itself is a kind of joke. But hey, he wants ballet „without audience“. Easily done, my friend. I speak from experience.

13) Rodrigo is working at the restaurant „in the afternoon only“ (in his own words), but in fact he is cleaning up late at night, with Pembridge and Gloria helping him! These percussion lessons of the brat with DeeDee seem to be REALLY long…

(Moritz Eggert)