Everything that is wrong in „Mozart in the Jungle“, season 4, episode 7: „We’re not Robots“

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. 1:00 the conducting lessons for Bernal seem to have stopped completely, as again his beating has little to do with Mozart’s Requiem, it’s like he is conducting a totally different piece in a very slow tempo.

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  2. The cuts inbetween the music seem to suggest that Rodrigo makes major last minute changes to the performance directly before it happens. It has to be stressed that this is simply not easily possible with classical music, you would have to print out (and produce!) completely new sheet music, rehearse the changes, etc.. If the performers had last minute changes in their music they would be confused and stressed, most would protest and refuse to deliver an unrehearsed performance, especially the choir. But in the performance everything seems to be fine and calm! Also Rodrigo and Hayley recruit help from the competition conductors who just seem to sit idly in the audience directly before the performance, which apparently has a several hour break that nobody seems to mind a lot. The chronology of events is completely crazy!

  3. ”Fugu” seems pissed but still astonishingly calm if one considers that a piece of technology worth much, much more than the “Mona Lisa” has just been completely destroyed on a whim by a crazy conductor. And why could WAM drive around unaccompanied on the premises anyway? If such a free-willed robot would truly exist, he would be constantly guarded heavily out of fear of industry espionage alone.

  4. 6:30 This seems like the most uncomfortable position for Hailey to fall asleep in, especially when there is a nice floor that she could lie on directly under her. Even staying put in this “sleeping” position would take a lot of energy actually.

  5. 8:46 Gloria says “He didn’t play the piece” about Rodrigo. But wasn’t he supposed to conduct it instead of playing it? There actually is a difference in these two concepts.

  6. 10:40 “when we get bored, you will hear a bell” (Sadako) seems like a vey harsh and debatable concept when judging rehearsals. In reality there would be the same allotted time slot for everybody involved. Why is this competition so famous? It is extremely chaotic, unfair and bizarre! A little later it is also shown that there are actually no rehearsals at all, the conductors just conduct without saying anything to the orchestra. That’s not a rehearsal and it doesn’t say anything about artistic intention, which is the reason why a rehearsal would be judged. Otherwise it’s just a performance!

  7. 11:40 Hailey seems to just wear something like a night gown for this “rehearsal”. Even though Lola Kirke looks extremely nice in it, this would be deemed extremely inappropriate in a competition situation. Especially in Japan (a country with very strict dress sense and codes) this outfit would cause an outrage and immediate disqualification!

  8. This is supposed to be a “rehearsal”, but the orchestra musicians seem to telepathically know where to start in the piece. In reality the conductor has to announce where he/she wants to start, as a rehearsal does not necessarily start with bar 1, but usually with some difficult spot in the piece that the conductor wants to improve. Otherwise it is a “reading runthrough”, but even that would have to be announced!

  9. 12:00 the one thing that conductors rarely do is closing their eyes. Their whole job is about is about making clear their intentions visually and giving cues, which definitely needs eye contact constantly.

  10. 13:30 I have been in some weird competition jurys in my life, but the way the contestants are discussed here is completely ludicrous. Real conductors and musicians don’t talk like this at all!

  11. 13:52 “We’re going to see Mr. Fukumoto”. What, Rodrigo is still a free man after destroying a billion dollar piece of future technology, a free-roaming robot with free will approaching singularity??? There would be an international manhunt for him already…And the first place they would look for him is with his girlfriend at the competition.

  12. As incredible as it sounds – the macho stance against women leading orchestras is described correctly here! The conversation with Yuko and Sadako describes the current situation for women conductors correctly.

  13. 16:50 the moment Rodrigo would enter the premises he would be overwhelmed by dozens of security men and delivered to the authorities for a major crime!

  14. What – throwing the robot down a bridge didn’t destroy but just short-circuited it? Just minutes ago we saw people fishing out single parts of the destroyed robot out of the river! That didn’t look a “short circuit” to me!

  15. 19:00 Conductors usually have a lot of respect for the music of Mahler, but they don’t fear it like an “abyss”. They also usually love conducting it, as it was written by a composer who was a great conductor himself!

  16. 20:00 again: conductors don’t “play the music”, Rodrigo, they f****** conduct it!

  17. 20:37 there is no “legato” for conductors. Only the musicians do legato manually, there is no way for the conductor to affect that except saying “more legato, please!” in a rehearsal, but it cannot be shown with your hands directly (only indirectly, as a reminder).

  18. 21:30 the final round of the competition is…outside? Open Air? This is acoustically the worst situation to put an orchestra in, you need amplification etc. to make it work and the musicians (and conductors) usually hate it). You only program open airs to reach more than the usual audience, but with the little crowd gathering here the hall woud be the far better (and realistic) option.

  19. 23:30 incidentally the orchestra we hear was clearly recorded in a hall, not outside.

  20. 24:10 it‘s funny that all the contestants have this self-copied scores with them, which wouldn‘t really go down well with the publishers actually printing these scores, especially in a public situation like a competition. Or is the competition handing out copied scores? This would even be worse!

  21. I‘d love it if there was fully equipped bar at every after-competition reception, but I don‘t think it is very common. So why exactly did Hailey fail in the last round? Because Rodrigo gave her too many tips? She rather seemed like she wouldn‘t care at all whereas in reality she would have perhaps been simply stressed out and nervous instead of comatose.

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Moritz Eggert

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