Everything that is wrong in „Mozart in the Jungle“, Season 4, Episode 4 „An Honest Ghost“

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) First of all we should note that Beethoven didn‘t write that many „fff“ (fortississimo), but I guess Pemberton conducts the 8th and the screenplay writer read the wikipedia article.


2) So Pemberton is worried that the orchestra is not playing “fff”, especially the trumpets? He should know that playing in an over-the-top volume is a hallmark of bad orchestras (playing soft demands much more skill and technique) and that trumpet players NEVER have a problem playing loud notes, instead they have a problem playing the RIGHT notes.

3) I love Matthew Maher – his looks are priceless!

4) 4:00 A motorcycle spewing exhaust fumes in a closed room next to delicate classical musicians? That would be the moment the orchestra union representative would stand up and demand an immediate end to the rehearsal. Really, I have seen whole orchestras cancelling a rehearsal because there was slight draft!

5) 4:58 Even though it is very noble of Pemberton to suddenly stop giving Hailey lessons because he is in the jury, this is not at all what happens in real life. Jury members often have students in competitions – if they are noble (which is not always the case) they refrain from voting for their students, but ofteh they actually do.

6) Rodrigo is STILL working in this restaurant to make one single annoying kid play in his youth orchestra? As if there are no waiters to be found…in …New York City!!!

7) 6:45 So Sharon is talking to Rodrigo about how to handle their ended affair NOW? After 3 years or so have passed? And at a most innoportune moment in the middle of a “meeting”? And why hold a business meeting in a restaurant while Rodrigo is working as a waiter there so he has no time to talk really?

8) 8:30 Hailey is right – an obscure female baroque composer wouldn’t really impress the judges. But not because she is female or baroque, it is simply that baroque music isn’t really that prominent in comducting competitions, as there is much less in it for a conductor to do than in classical or romantic repertoire. A lot of baroque music was originally not conducted at all or sonebody stood in front and moved a long pole up and down to give the beat.

9) 9:20 I don’t think there is actually a classical concert hall in the Himalayas where one could “conduct Strawinsky”.

10) 11:30 Now we know where Ben Linus from “Lost” ended up: he is a collector of rare musical “emepharalia”! The whole entrance into his villa is a bit ridiculous: a servant blows a loud horn while he is rehearsing a soft madrigal in the main hall directly behind. And the piece by Gesualdo is one of his least “dissonant”, yet he demands more “dissonance”. He should know that singers can’t make the music more “dissonant”, except when singing other notes from the ones written down in the score.

11) He then proceeds to “discover” Rodrigo (after a bloody horn announced his entrance directly behind him just seconds ago!), stops “conducting” and his vocal ensemble inexplicably continues to sing while he is talking to Rodrigo and Hailey. Is everybody mad in this house?

12) 15:10 If Pemberton would have downed a “handful of Peyote” before the TV show he definitely wouldn’t have been “nervous” anymore…

13) 16:05 “Eraseface” says yes to this pathetic and unsympathetic offer??? He must be really desperate for money!

14) 17:05 That Hailey now talks to Mozart’s sister might be the “jumping the shark”-moment of the show. What is this show becoming? “Bewitched” or “Charmed”? But the most unrealistic thing is that Hailey immediately seems to know where the “Damentoilette” in this huge house is, even though nobody told her!

15) 18:32 A musical collector would not display the pages from the “Requiem” unprotected like this. They would be behind glass, far from any sunlight, probably in a safe, not lying openly on a notestand where the servant with the bugle horn can spill coffee over them. These pages are of immense monetary value!

16) 19:25 Fanny Mendelssohn would not understand either “Flowerpots” or “The Blumenpots”, but she would understand “Blumentoepfe” though. But okay, this is Hailey’s vision, and she can’t speak German. But after learning to be a conductor who is invited to the most famous international competition in the space of just one year (roughly) she can probably learn German in 5 seconds.

17) I could say a lot about this pimped-up Beethoven performance. But I will just say one thing: blowing into traffic cones does not produce any sound!

18) 24:15 So the illusionary visions in Hailey’s head give her a real baton that she can handle in the real world? “Jumping the shark” indeed…

19) 27:00 Liberace as the “other guy” is a pretty good joke, but the way he is presented here is a bit mean. Contrary to common belief Liberace was not limited to being an over the top showman, but also a pretty decent pianist who was actually much respected by his classical colleagues. Presenting him as a third-rate and badly singing bar pianist doesn’t do him justice.