Mozart in the Jungle: Fifth Chair

Maybe you remember this:iuWritten by former oboist/person-who-tried-to-poison-Bill-Nye-the-Science-Guy's-garden Blair Tindall, it chronicles how, with diligent use of poor sexual and substance-related choices, any promising young musician can succeed in succumbing to a fate fit for a rock god.

Now, it's on TV!


The pilot episode came out in the summer, and the 6 of us at the Brott Qvintetthaus (we had a full woodwind quintet, plus another horn) proooobably watched it... about five times. Every time someone came over to our house, they would have to sit down and watch it: the young oboe student texting his friend that "I wish my dick was a woodwind," actual Joshua Bell playing with the not-so-actual New York Symphony, the young and ambitious Maestro Rodrigo (take a guess), and a party featuring some kind of excerpt spin-the-bottle game and a device called the "ganjanome" (it's one of them old-fashioned metronomes with a joint tied to the arm). When we left our heroine, the young oboist Hayley, she had just rushed to a surprise New York Symphony audition on a rickshaw (making a reed on the way-- hey, nice Landwell.) The audition ends before she gets there, but she decides to play to the empty hall, where Rodrigo is still lurking, making out with his assistant. The episode ends with him in awe of her amazing oboe skillz.

I am going to have to watch the rest of the episodes. It's gonna happen. No turning back.

So, what happens in the next one?

Coming back to reality somewhat, Gloria-- the NYS's head honcho who seems to be simultaneously all administrative positions at once--  remembers that musicians are unionized, and you can't just replace oboists at random. Dudamel Rodrigo says fine, we'll just play Mahler 8, and hires Hayley as fifth oboe. She skips down the street, which is also what I would do if I were playing Mahler 8, so +1 realism point. -1 that same realism point for the fact that Mahler 8 has no 5th oboe part.

Hayley's roommate has a somewhat flawed understanding of what practicing entails, and is irritated that hearing the same passage of Mahler over and over distracts her from her extremely important bong hits. (Hayley is practicing oboe, not English horn... the plot thickens!) So Hayley goes to make out with a dancer she met in the last episode instead.

The all-important first rehearsal! Hayley's cellist friend (the principal cellist in the prestigious New York Symphony who inexplicably has to take weird off-Broadway musical gigs after symphony concerts, which appears to be how she met Hayley) introduces her to various characters, such as the dudes effectuating drug transactions backstage (the seller offers her propranolol "on the house", how nice!) and a guy who complains about the change in repertoire and worries that opening the season with "a composer suppressed by the Nazis" sends the wrong message. Oookay then. Yes. That is the only relevant piece of information about Mahler.

Hayley meets the principal oboe, who informs her that "I had tits once, I just didn't play my oboe with them." Buuuurn.

Ah yes, and here is Hayley sitting in her 5th oboe chair, which is located somewhat suspiciously right next to the principal oboe. Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 12.52.58 PM

Then the concertmaster stands up and for some reason the rest of the orchestra does too. Then a parrot appears and poops on Rodrigo's shoe. Then the 2nd/5th oboe gives the A while the 1st makes a masturbatory motion with her oboe, and rehearsal can start. Seems legit.

Due to sweaty hands (WIPE THEM ON YOUR PANTS, GURL) Hayley manages to throw her oboe on the floor and yell "motherfucker!" Yeah, I hate when that happens. The episode ends with our heroine packing up her oboe on the steps of the hall while mouthing swearwords.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 1.49.39 PM


Better luck next time, I guess.