Mozart in the Jungle deserved the Golden Globe.

The Golden Globes Are Right: You Should Really Watch Mozart in the Jungle

The Golden Globes Are Right: You Should Really Watch Mozart in the Jungle

Brow Beat has moved! You can find new stories here.
Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 10 2016 11:29 PM

The Golden Globes Are Right: You Should Really Watch Mozart in the Jungle

504401592-actors-gael-garcia-bernal-bernadette-peters-and-lola
Actors Gael Garcia Bernal, Bernadette Peters, and Lola Kirke, winners of Best Series - Musical or Comedy for Mozart In The Jungle at the Golden Globes.

Photo by FREDERIC J BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

For whatever reason, Amazon released the second season of Mozart in the Jungle, its charming little show about the professional, romantic, and union negotiating lives of the members of a New York orchestra, the day before New Year’s Eve—not great for visibility. So I’m not surprised that viewers of Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony greeted the show’s two wins—for Best Television Series Comedy or Musical and Gael García Bernal as Best Actor in the same category for his portrayal of Rodrigo, the impulsive, brilliant, painfully handsome conductor—with some confusion. (Alright, apparently no one has even heard of this show—but I did write a piece advocating for it last season!)

But don’t worry: The whole thing is there on Amazon Prime for your classical music drama binging catch-up pleasure. And you should watch it, because Mozart is one of the most charming, quirky comedies out there. Oh, you already have a charming, quirky comedy in your docket? Perhaps you’ll be interested in the impressive, spritely production value, brought in no small part by the directorial involvement of Roman Coppola, Paul Weitz, and Jason Schwartzman (who also plays a bumbling classical music podcaster) and spot-on casting like Bernadette Peters as saucy orchestra management or a delightfully narcissistic Malcolm McDowell as the displaced—and far more popular with certain donors—conductor Thomas Pembridge. Seriously, everyone in this show is weird and good and after every episode I marvel to myself that it even exists in the world.

Advertisement

Most of that marvel comes from how insanely precise and well-observed Mozart is about music and, more relevant for a comedy, the off-kilter personalities and peculiar challenges of the professional musical life. Take it from a former band nerd and music major: For all of the show’s dips into light surrealism (Rodrigo sometimes talks to an imaginary Mozart) and absurdist humor (the first chair oboist is treated to a Mozart stripper at her anniversary party), it is incredibly committed not only to the feeling of working in an ensemble, but also to making that lifestyle real. Union spats, intra-ensemble dalliances, soloists with big egos, and the emotional hold a teacher can have on a student—all of these are rendered in shockingly familiar detail, even as they are mined for humor.

I’m sure Mozart isn’t for everyone—it’s a totally bizarre comedy about classical music, I get it. But for anyone who roots for unlikely heroes and hungers for specific details, it’s worth a shot. And it’s certainly worth the accolades it received Sunday night.

J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate associate editor and the editor of Outward. He covers life, culture, and LGBTQ issues.