Everything that is wrong in „Mozart in the Jungle“, season 4, episode 2 „If I Were An Elf, I would Tell You“

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) 0:47: „Keith“ (Hailey’s father) is a bit aggressive, isn’t he? Snapping his fingers like that would come across as quite scary if you were little Hailey preparing for the audition…


2) 1:14: …no wonder she now plays the oboe piece in a completely different key than the one she just practised in – she has been scared witless!

3) ca. 4:00 …if one looks at Haileys clearly tanned arms during this scene one could get the impression that she just came back from a longer holiday. But she was conducting every night in that damn Czech underground club in New York! Either she regularly goes to a tanning booth…or could it be that the actress Lola Kirke was on holiday before filming started? You tell me…

4) ca. 9:00 …even though Rodrigo acts like he is all serious and so, Hailey is actually pretty realistically describing how a REAL conductor would act out their „affair“ in the future (you know, the stuff with the beautiful singer and the bipolar painter). There is a lot of unrealistic stuff in this series, but this „serious Rodrigo“ is actually the most unrealistic of it all.

5) 12:15 Driving around this kind of neighbourhood with a Latin-American next to you and a blasting tape player will probably get you arested in these parts of the US these days…

6) 12:20 Interestingly the scene cuts to Hailey and Rodrigo driving along another road, but the „Nutcracker“ on Hailey’s tape player simply plays on as if nothing happened in-between. So the live music in the scene is acting like it was incidental music! Or perhaps Hailey quickly rewound the tape…

7) 13:03 As oboe cannot be really practiced that long (especially when you’re kid) and with Hailey’s father being that obsessed with her career, why did he kick her out of the house to practice elsewhere? Especially when he is so ambitious and listens at the door (for 5 hours, as we later learn!)

8) 13:25 And Rodrigo adds another instrument to an already improbable list of instruments he never has to practice but always is perfect in: Banjo! (after violin, piano, percussion…)

9) 13:50 „Have you never played the banjo before?“ „No.“ Ok, this is bullshit. You can’t play the C major suite on an (untuned, I might add) banjo perfectly out of the blue without ever practicing it. Not even Helge Schneider can!

10) 14:00 This is I think the 10th actor or so to play imaginary Mozart, and all of them look different and speak differently. And you know – the part about Michael Tilson Thomas being „so physical“…I don’t think it’s correct.

11) 14:50 Why is Rodrigo a „traitor“ to Mozart when he has a girlfriend? Real Mozart married his girlfriend and had lots of kids, and he was STILL able to perform, conduct and compose. Why is this Mozart so obnoxious about Rodrigo’s private life?

12) 15:30 „She’s my favorite“ – no pedagogue worth her salt would say that to a bunch of aspiring kids. And come on: how many kids in this tiny American town actually are so desperate to learn the oboe that they visit a master class by a visiting sub (!) from New York? In real life you would be hard-pressed to find one single kid here.

13) 16:00 I don’t know how it is handled in Haileytown, but in a real-life master class kids don’t stop playing in the middle of a phrase unless they messed up (and this kid didn’t).

14) 16:15 That kid is „google stalking“ a relatively unknown oboist from NY, who is neither playing in an orchestra nor appears as a soloist? Wow, these country kids are really desperate!

15) 17:25 Why is Hailey’s father so angry about her charming little story??? She is not even talking badly about him!

16) 22.50 All this drama by Hailey’s father about the audition „for one of the best orchestras in the world“ should be put into perspective: the average oboist does dozens of auditions to get an orchestra job, not only one. And even the greatest and most respected oboe principals have many failed auditions in their biography! So why is he so mean about that single one?

17) 23:30 5 hours of non-stop oboe practice? As a kid? No way, José…it just is not possible, and if it was, she would be braindead by now.

18) 29:28 „So let’s go have sex in our place“…yeaaaah, after a day long bus ride….

Moritz Eggert

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