And we got a virtuoso to play it for us
It's won two Golden Globes and a third series has been commissioned. So why hasn't anybody watched it?
What is this 'Mozart in the Jungle'?
Mozart in the Jungle is a TV show about young conductor Rodrigo (Gael Garcia Bernal) who is brought in to shake up the fictional New York Symphony – an organisation threatened by shrinking budgets and union unrest. It’s based on the eponymous book by Blair Tindall, a real-life exposé of life as a classical musician in New York.
The first series of Mozart in the Jungle premiered in January 2015 – with the second series released in December.
Is it any good?
Mozart in the Jungle hasn't made a huge impression on the popular consciousness, but there are signs that people are starting to take notice. The show has just won two Golden Globes (best comedy TV series and best comedy TV series actor for Bernal) – and a third series has just been commissioned.
As actor Albert Brooks tweeted following the Golden Globes:
If Mozart In The Jungle wins any more awards somebody will have to see it.— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) January 11, 2016
Albert’s challenge has not fallen on deaf ears. It’s time for a MitJ binge.
Classic FM asked its victim (me) to decide whether the show is any good, and more importantly, whether it lived up to its alluring tagline: ‘Sex, drugs and classical music’. To do this, I had to live tweet throughout all 10 episodes of season 1.
The tally was ready:
The reviewer was ready:
Let the binge commence!
We did not have to wait long to add ‘sex’ to the tally:
'It's easier with the lips slightly wet'. Nice opening line. #MozartInTheJungleMarathon— Tim Edwards (@Timmosaurusrex) February 12, 2016
FYI - this is the protagonist, talented young musician Hailey (played by Lola Kirke), teaching an overprivileged teenage boy to play the oboe.
The fun came thick and fast in the opening episode. A pot-smoking double bass player; Gael Garcia Bernal (playing Rodrigo, the brilliant young Mexican conductor based on Gustavo Dudamel)...
...Malcolm Macdowell playing the bitter old conductor he’s replacing; a musicians’ house party with a classical take on spin-the-bottle; Joshua Bell:
And how’s that Sex/ Drugs/ Classical Music tally coming along?
Our tireless reviewer continued to plough through series one for 10 straight episodes.
We learned a number of things, some of which might even have some basis in fact:
1. Most members of the orchestra, including administrative staff, are on prescription drugs sold to them by the percussionist
2. Rodrigo’s favourite pick-me-up, maté, is completely legal
Despite the director’s transparent attempts to make us think it was a drug (above ). In fact, our reviewer even had a pack of maté in his cupboard and was able to sample it:
3. Classical musicians have special jokes
JOKE: Why do violinists make the worst lovers? They only know one position! <Thought it was viola players, tbh> #MozartInTheJungleMarathon— Tim Edwards (@Timmosaurusrex) February 12, 2016
4. You cannot escape Classic FM Hall of Fame favourite 'The Lark Ascending' – even on your death bed
5. Perhaps it’s time journalists stopped asking if classical music is dead
First question: 'Is classical music dead?' My ears are burning— Tim Edwards (@Timmosaurusrex) February 12, 2016
6. Pianists have issues
There were heartwarming bits
And great lines
'Glory is for football players - I'm about the magic' - Rodrigo #MozartInTheJungleMarathon— Tim Edwards (@Timmosaurusrex) February 12, 2016
There were even real music issues
Halfway thru and real world issues so far: reaching out to young audience, union issues, low pay, falling budgets #MozartInTheJungleMarathon— Tim Edwards (@Timmosaurusrex) February 12, 2016
The final tally
So, was it any good?
The final verdict: Watch this now. Hilarious, heart-warming, felt more like a fun run than a marathon. #MozartInTheJungleMarathon— Tim Edwards (@Timmosaurusrex) February 12, 2016