“What’s Mozart In The Jungle?” That’s what many people were asking earlier this month when Amazon’s sly and silly look at the world of classical music was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Television Series — Comedy or Musical. Well, we know what Mozart in the Jungle is. The series might have been overshadowed by its sister show Transparent, but it’s a smart, hilarious, and delightful binge-watch. (I personally consider it a much smarter Smash and like to pair it with a bottle of Pinot Grigio.)
Right now is the perfect time to jump into Mozart In The Jungle. Not only is it getting love from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, but season two debuts on December 30. Even though season one makes for a fun and zippy binge-watch, we understand that you might not have time this holiday season to cram all 10 half hour episodes. Here’s everything you need to know about the series!
What’s Mozart In The Jungle even about?
Mozart In The Jungle is loosely based on oboist Blair Tindell’s 2005 memoir. It follows a young oboist named Hailey Rutledge (Lola Kirke) as she tries to navigate life, love, and the cutthroat world of classical music. Hailey’s not quite good enough to secure a position in an illustrious New York City symphony, but her passion for playing inspires the orchestra’s eccentric new maestro Rodrigo De Souza (Gael Garcia Bernal) to hire her on as an assistant. From there, she finds herself rubbing elbows with patricians and struggling to prove her worth as an artist in her own right.
Wait. She really plays the oboe?
Yeah! It’s a powerful and sensual woodwind. At one point in the first season, John Hodgman plays a wealthy man so smitten with her that he pays thousands of dollars for private lessons. It turns out he’s just a con man.
So Mozart in the Jungle is sexy?
Oh yeah! Everyone’s having love affairs and flirtations.
Do Lola Kirke and Gael Garcia Bernal hook up?
That’s actually a controversial question (in this writer’s opinion). Throughout the first season, Rodrigo was haunted by the memory of his fiery ex, Ana Maria, and Hailey was involved with a super hot and super sweet professional dancer named Alex. Rodrigo and Hailey had a really lovely platonic friendship for most of the season. They supported and inspired each other. Then, in the final moments of season one, after a triumphant concert, Rodrigo and Hailey kiss.
Are there any other major romances or hook ups on the show?
Cynthia and Thomas have an on/off thing; I mean, everyone is in love with Cynthia. And Lizzie and Bradford fall in love towards the end of the season.
Who are Cynthia and Thomas? WHO ARE LIZZIE AND BRADFORD?!?!?
Cynthia (Saffron Burrows) is a wise, gorgeous, and irresistible cellist in the orchestra. She meets Hailey doing orchestra work for a terrible Broadway show and loops her into her high-class symphony world. Thomas (Malcolm McDowell) is the aging maestro whom the young and vibrant Rodrigo has replaced. Cynthia is a long-time love and forever muse for Thomas. Only she can talk sense into him and inspire him to pursue his own creative passions.
Lizzie (Hannah Dunne) is Hailey’s quirky trust-fund baby roommate. She gets into a string of dalliances and escapades until meeting Bradford Sharpe (Jason Schwartzman) at the end of season one. Bradford is a classical music fanboy who runs a podcast. The two end season one by embarking on a trip overseas.
Anyone else I need to know?
The spectacular Bernadette Peters plays Gloria Windsor. She’s a socialite who works behind-the-scenes and is obsessed with getting more money and younger fans to the symphony.
Ooo…since this is a musical, does Bernadette Peters get to sing on the show?
Not in season one, but in season two…well, those are spoilers.
So why should I watch Mozart In The Jungle?
It’s one of the rare shows out right now that is fully committed to commingling high and low art — and that’s exciting. It’s bringing the stuffy world of classical music down to earth and treating really lovely — and absurd — comedic moments with complete artistic respect. It’s beautifully made, wittily written, and Bernal and Kirke are absolutely fantastic. It’s a pulpy, sweet love letter to the bonkers experience of being an artist in New York City.
Season one of Mozart In The Jungle is available to stream now. Season two debuts on December 30.