Mozart in the Jungle: Pilot
January 13, 2015 7:47 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

The stellar casting for this show got me to watch the first two episodes. It was fun watching GGB and MM throw around the seriously underwritten scripts for an episode or two, but the cheap sex drama plot lines are a little too daytime TV for me and I haven't wanted to watch any more.

Anyone care to change my mind?
posted by carsonb at 11:08 AM on January 14, 2015

It gets away from the wacky-bedroom-hijinks as the season goes on. Give it another go.
posted by Etrigan at 3:23 PM on January 14, 2015

I thought this made for consistently enjoyable viewing (aside from one or two scenes and one or two characters), and it was nice to have something new to watch during winter hiatus.

The AV Club reviewer talked at one point about how certain kinds of weakness in the writing may have been semi-intentional (in the sense that, yes, it's a problem that exists, but not a problem that must be fixed) given the assumption that streaming viewers are likely to binge through the episodes.

I genuinely appreciate having to wait a week between episodes of my favorite shows -- whether it's high-tension shows like Breaking Bad or Dexter, or will-they/won't-they drama or just savoring those really good lines or moments in any well-written show. I think the satisfaction would be reduced without the time to reflect on each episode while waiting for the next.

But if I had to wait a week between episodes of Mozart, I would never finish the season.

It's just not that engaging or deep. I watched the whole season over two days between Christmas and New Years. I liked it. I read all the AV Club reviews. I would definitely watch a second season. But I will probably not think about this show again until that next season comes out.

Is it better than most sitcoms on broadcast TV? Oh, easily. Is it great television? No. But I think it's particularly well-suited to its medium -- not a whole lot of plot, no essential little details for you to miss while you're distractedly tapping at your iPad, lots of great character moments to make you remember why you keep hitting play on episode after episode.

So if you liked any of what you've seen so far, watch some more when you're between seasons of whatever shows you really love. It's fun, and there are some particularly good moments late in the season. And there aren't any huge spoilers that would ruin anything for you if you don't watch it all right away.
posted by katieinshoes at 4:32 PM on January 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

I could definitely see how this show might not land for everyone. But having just extricated myself from a downtown non-profit theater job, it does hit a delicious sweet spot. If you like Slings and Arrows you’ll probably enjoy this, or if you work in the arts I highly recommend this. I liked that for once the arts administrators weren’t the villainous bad guys trying to crush the art, but in fact were sometimes limiting the actions of the artists but largely facing their own challenges trying to keep the art happening. And it has the NYC fund-raising, board nonsense down. There’s an episode that really captures the weird disconnect of being a struggling artist in regular contact with incredibly rich people. It feels true and real in way that Slings and Arrows never really hit. Slings and Arrows was about the love and the passion and veered toward the saccharine. This is about the love and the passion, but each episode illustrated a window into a specific challenge of trying to make a living making collaborative art. Slings and Arrows issues were always seen from the Artistic Director’s perspectives rather than sort of running through the whole company the way Mozart in the Jungle does.

Specific Issues Addressed:

-Am I good enough?
-Physical toll on the body from performative art
-The relationship between donors and art organizations
-Older female colleagues taking damage from their own difficult climb up the ladder out on younger women starting that same climb
-Being a struggling artist while in interacting with incredibly rich people
-That those rich people also CARE about the art….sometimes
-Crazy (maybe Genius) Artistic Directors
-Problems maintaining relationship(s) due to your commitment to this other passion
-A permissive drug culture and the effects of that over the course of a long career on certain individuals
posted by edbles at 1:30 PM on January 16, 2015 [4 favorites]

I've a friend who works on the periphery of classical music and plays in a really good amateur orchestra and they were shocked that professional classical musicians drink, take drugs and have sex! Shocked, I tell you!

(I found it pretty entertaining, if lightweight and would watch another series)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:32 AM on January 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Came out of curiosity... stayed for the unintended-by-the-writers belly laughs... left for the ugly artless racist moronic purposely-obvious satire of an actual brilliant conductor (among the bottomless other stoopid).

This is not like an astronaut being all "I don't care how beautiful Interstellar was; it sucks because its depictions of X/Y/Z are totally unrealistic." I could watch and love a totally fantasy-based, unrealistic show about my profession. Just not this one. :)
posted by kalapierson at 11:39 AM on January 26, 2015

Iván Fischer
“It took me a few years to figure out why I was so unhappy,” he told me, over lunch at the Palace of Arts. “Everyone was congratulating me. My manager in London was quite contented. But I thought deeply, and came to the conclusion that the entire orchestra system was flawed. Especially in America, it is a very boring, very bad system. Everyone complains about governing boards and managements”—when we met, a fifteen-month lockout at the Minnesota Orchestra had just ended—“but I also blame the unions. They are too rigid in their attitudes. Let us imagine, say, a first-trumpet player who can no longer play well. The union should look after the musical interests of the entire orchestra. But, instead, they defend that one player to the end. I dislike also the audition system, which is based on playing certain famous excerpts from the repertory. The trouble is that some players give perfect renditions of the excerpts but turn out to be useless in the orchestra, while others do poorly in the audition but are fantastic in the orchestra. There should be more flexibility, more competition.”
posted by unliteral at 6:43 PM on February 15, 2015

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