I Watched Mozart in the Jungle Because the Golden Globes Reminded Me I Had To Finish It Someday

Highligh (Lola Kirke) and Rodrigo de Souza (Gael Garcia Bernal) take a bus around Mexico because they are totally not meant to be.

Highligh (Lola Kirke) and Rodrigo de Souza (Gael Garcia Bernal) take a bus around Mexico by themselves because they are totally not meant to be.

I was at a Golden Globes viewing party when Mozart in the Jungle won in two major television categories–Best Television Series – Comedy and Best Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy. Its win was perplexing to many, mainly because no one has even heard of the show, created by Roman Coppola (a Coppola), Jason Schwartzman (another Coppola), and Alex Timbers (a non-Coppola).

But I’ve heard of it. In fact, I actually watched the pilot episode two years ago when Amazon first posted it as a Prime offering, and didn’t even have the option to watch the second episode because Amazon still hadn’t picked it up for a full season at the time. I’m hesitant to say I liked it before it was cool, but I definitely watched it before it was cool.

After Mozart in the Jungle’s unexpected wins at the Globes, Medha was responsible for watching and reviewing the first season, and I was responsible for watching and reviewing the second season. Medha blew through the two seasons because she was able to watch the show on her train rides home and even wrote about it months ago, while I binged the first season and indefinitely stopped watching season two, until today. So, I’m sorry, I’m a terrible blogger who can’t make commitments.

The first season was charming enough, thanks to Gael Garcia Bernal’s irresistible performance as the wunderkind maestro of the New York Philharmonic, Rodrigo de Souza. Bernal’s performance in season one is wonderful in the sense that he adds so much depth to a character that could have been a textbook brat on paper. Bernal plays the character with such vitality and wit that he makes some of the amateur classical music references sound like jokes a world-class conductor could conceivably crack. In addition, season one allowed its audience to marvel in the fact that Bernadette Peters and Malcolm McDowell are regulars on a streaming television series because, well, it’s 2015.

Yet, season two loses some of the whimsical charm from season one. Our oboist-protagonist, Hailey Rutledge (Lola Kirke), is no longer the lost, semi-relatable gal (as relatable as a twentysomething female protagonist in a NYC-set comedy series could potentially be to a normal human being who binge-watches television shows) struggling to make it in the big city as the conductor’s personal assistant, but is now a member of the New York Philharmonic. She sleeps with a famous cellist, charms a wealthy banker, and makes out with her conductor. Gone is the girl who was so easily charmed by a con man and was dating a freelance dancer–Hailey Rutledge is now a cool city girl who can have pretty much anyone and anything she wants.

Protagonists become boring when things fall into place for them. As for the other characters, however, things are not falling into place quite yet. The rest of the orchestra is making demands for their livelihood–to be better compensated, to have better health insurance, and so on. While the show presents a real problem–musicians not being paid enough to be the cornerstone of a very monied institution–the show sort of glosses over the serious issues with libido-driven digressions. Case in point: cellist Cynthia Taylor (Saffron Burrows) falls for the orchestra’s hired lawyer (Gretchen Mol), creating an awkward love triangle between the two women and flutist Bob (Mark Blum).

Yet, Bernal remains the heart of the show. Without him, the show is nothing. While the Roman Coppola’s beautifully directed episode, “How to Make God Laugh” set in Mexico City contains the breezy, playful charm of season one, or more specifically, the “You Go to My Head” episode (also directed by Coppola), it’s Bernal’s performance that shines above all else. “You Go to My Head” is one of the first episodes in the series where the show probes a bit deeper into Rodrigo’s fragile, childlike soul–directly showing the extent as to Rodrigo relates to a child prodigy–and “How to Make God Laugh” acts as sort of a coda to the sentiments expressed in “You Go to My Head,” removing Rodrigo from NYC and pushing him to reflect away from the limelight. There’s a vulnerability to Bernal’s performance that I’m willing to bet isn’t in the script; he elevates the character and the show so much so that it feels that his performance should actually exist in a different show. Surprisingly, though, Bernal’s performance also feels like it could very well belong in Mozart in the Jungle’s cartoonish stupor, which is perhaps his greatest achievement of all.

There remains, in season two, some great supporting performances by Bernadette Peters as the orchestra’s manager, Gloria Windsor, who, we find out in season two, CAN ALSO SING (surprise!!) and Malcolm McDowell as the begrudged former conductor, Thomas Pembridge. They’re fun, but they don’t really add any gravitas to the show.

Which brings me to the show’s main problem–it’s not a very ambitious show. While Bernal does a lot of the heavy lifting with his performance, the show itself is extremely thin. Never does the show feel particularly thoughtful or insightful about human relationships, dedication to one’s work, or musical culture. In fact, it feels cliched and silly, and more so in season two where we’re supposed to believe in tea leaves and curses. I suppose one can argue that the show is not invested in conveying important things and it’s meant to be a delightful romp. Sadly, it feels like the show has so much potential to be more than a silly, misguided attempt to make classical music sexy to twenty-first century denizens. Look no further than some recent films about musicians, such as the underrated The Last Quartet, or the excellent Whiplash for examples of films that Mozart in the Jungle could take note of.

I’m not sure where the Coppolas and Alex Timbers are going with this show. Season two ends with a cliffhanger, but we’re sort of assured that everything is probably going to be all right because things rarely turn out badly on this show. That said, dialogue, such as, “I fucking love Bach,” cameos by Beethoven and Mozart, and ice skating jokes about Stravinsky (because Stravinsky is Russian and Russia is cold, get itttt??) can only sustain a show for so long. While there are things still to be explored on this show, I’m not sure how much longer I can stand this low-stakes parade of consumeristic classical music.

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What is up with Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx?

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I NEED THE TRUTH ABOUT THEIR ROMANCE AS IT IS PERSONALLY IMPORTANT TO ME

A year ago, Medha casually mentioned to me that she read somewhere that Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx may be dating. After I learned this life-changing piece of information, I went all Woodward and Bernstein on this shit, trying to dig up every single detail possible about a potential Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx romance. However, I’m sorry to say, the Internet had very little to say about Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx.

Yet, I’m still absolutely obsessed with them.

If there is one thing someone needs to know about me is that I am a really serious shipper. I am always on the prowl for my next favorite ship. It is the most altruistic thing I do because I don’t benefit from any of this at all in any shape or form. I simply feel happy for these potential lovebirds who will never invite me to their dates, weddings, baby showers, and anniversary parties, mostly because they either will never get together, don’t know me, and/or are fictional characters.

Note some startling examples of my shipping lunacy:

  1. When I was in second grade, I was in the church children’s choir and I shipped these two third graders. This was my first ship ever. A year later, I found out they were actually cousins.
  2. One day during summer vacation before college, I wrote a 10-page “shipper manifesto” (it’s a LiveJournal thing) on every single “ship” moment between Jerry Seinfeld and Elaine Benes in the course of the entire run of Seinfeld. I never published it, but I’m pretty proud of it.
  3. During season four and five of Gossip Girl, I definitely reblogged at least ten Dan and Blair gifs on Tumblr per night (and subsequently cried my heart out when Blair chose Chuck over Dan in the season five finale).
  4. Once, my friend admitted to me that she has always liked the guy I shipped her with and I started forming real tears in my eyes.
  5. I was once at my friend’s apartment, and she invited over this guy I shipped her with, and I couldn’t stop smiling in their presence, to a point that my mouth started hurting.
  6. I said “RIP Matthew Crawley” after every episode of Downton Abbey post-season three I’ve ever watched.

So I think you all get the point: I fixate on other people’s romantic relationships, or especially, potential romantic relationships. To me, Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx are no different. I want to get to the bottom of this, so I can cry some happy tears.

While Medha and I have been sharing details about Katie and Jamie over the past year on Facebook Messenger, it looks like the mainstream media has finally caught on to the magic that is Katie and Jamie. To me, Katie and Jamie are the TomKat that Katie deserved in the first place. I never understood the appeal of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, a relationship that was made more cringe-worthy with Tom Cruise’s Scientology advocacy and Oprah couch-jumping; so, in short, a relationship that has been made more cringe-worthy due to Tom Cruise’s frustrating public antics. Hey, but at least we got Suri and Suri’s Burn Book out of it.

I don’t personally know Katie (just FYI, in case anyone was wondering), but I feel like she deserves a guy like Jamie, a man who actually has an Oscar and whose children can actually visit their mother. I don’t personally know Jamie either (I feel like I almost did during the 2004 Oscar season), but I think he deserves a strong woman like Katie who has really battled life’s tribulations, as I would assume leaving Scientology and divorcing Tom Cruise are both really big life events. So I basically decided, based on the little I know about them, that they are both complex, fully formed people, and they should be together.

A few days ago, Medha pointed out to me (I’m not sure why I’m writing this piece because Medha co-owns the blog and has all the information, but I’ll keep going), with the message, “idk about this but big if true,” that Katie is probably pregnant with Jamie’s daughter, and they are probably going to get married. I was elated, obviously. Then, after a quick Internet search, I found out it might not be true and returned to my natural state as a petulant jerk.

Let’s back up a bit, though, shall we? We never even got confirmation as to whether or not Katie and Jamie are actually dating. All we know is that they danced at the Hamptons and held hands at least once because we have the photos to prove it. But it’s frustrating, though. I understand that both Katie and Jamie want us to respect their privacy and their families’ privacy, but I would definitely go out of my way to buy a newsstand copy of People Magazine to get the exclusive directly from them.

But we’re getting so much information between the lines of the gossip rags, and all of it makes me love Katie’s and Jamie’s relationship even more. Jamie allegedly calls Katie “my girl.” Jamie allegedly treats Suri as one of his own. Katie and Jamie are happy they are having a girl because they claim they wouldn’t know what to do with a boy, as both parties have only raised girls before. (Yeah, I know I am quoting the same three articles, but bear with me).

Then I wonder if it’s awkward for Jamie because he co-starred with Tom Cruise in Collateral, and they were both pretty much the only two people in that movie, so they probably got pretty close. Is this a violation of the bro code? Doesn’t matter–that’s an “old movie,” as some of my fellow millennials might say.

If none of this is true, these gossip writers are writing the best fanfiction of their lives. I’ve grown to love “Katie Holmes” and “Jamie Foxx” through their writing, and I’ve never been a big fan of either actor. So congratulations on this narrative, you twenty-first century Hedda Hopper wannabes!

Now, most importantly, I just want Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx to be happy–separately, or together. But preferably, together.

Harry Styles Is Now Boring

Will I ever feel the same way I did circa 2013 about Harry Styles?

Will I ever feel the same way I did circa 2013 about Harry Styles?

There was a period of time between 2012 and 2015 when Harry Styles was this beautiful bastion of undeniable charisma.

One Direction, or Simon Cowell, at least, liked to say that there was no such thing as a “lead singer” of the band. Everyone played their part. But the media, and probably most teenage girls, were smarter than that. We all knew, deep down, that Harry Styles was the face of the band, the boy with the dimpled cheeks, the curly hair, the bright, green eyes, the baritone voice. It wasn’t that he he demarcated the tabloids, or that he was Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, but really, truly, it was that this particular boy was probably the most charming thing that had happened to pop culture in a long while.

Harry Styles, simply, for a lack of a better word, had a lot of style. He knew what to say and said it well. He was so eloquent and always remembered that he was part of a five-man show rather than an one-man show, no matter what the interviewers wanted him to think or say. He was funny and witty and polite and got along with babies and kittens. He knew how to dress himself and sat in the front row at cosmopolitan fashion weeks. He hung out with the cool crowd–British socialites, it-girls, Nick Grimshaw–who made the magazines look pretty and hip.

Harry Styles took a life of his own outside of One Direction. Not to say that the other boys didn’t, but Harry Styles was not “Harry of One Direction,” but really, he was Harry Styles. Harry Styles, which Rolling Stones, in 2014, declared the “Boy of the Year of the Girl.” Harry Styles was an entity of his own–not Harry, Louis, Niall, Liam, and Zayn, but Harry Styles, who had a space, an article, all to himself.

With all that charisma to burn, there’s bound to be a lot of intrigue. Taylor Swift’s critically acclaimed, blockbuster hit album from 2014, 1989, is allegedly pretty much all about her potentially fake, but also potentially real relationship with Styles. And who wouldn’t want to speculate? Swift certainly wants you to, as she even went out of her way to name a song “Style”–a wink if there ever was one.

As 1989 immortalized Styles, or at least, the “Haylor” relationship circa a few months in 2012, 2015 was a surprisingly low key year for Styles. Zayn Malik left the band mid-tour, and One Direction released what was probably their last album before they go on their infinite hiatus, as all boy bands are destined to do.

At this pivotal juncture in their celebrity, the boys are moving on. Zayn Malik has a terrible single out that other people apparently like. Louis Tomlinson is now a father of a baby boy borne by a very close friend. Liam Payne seems to be living a quiet life with his dancer-girlfriend and anticipating Batman vs. Superman like the rest of the boys his age. Niall Horan, who is now by far my favorite member of the band, is launching a golf agency and sitting at pretty crappy seats at Adele and Ellie Goulding concerts, the latter whom he apparently had a fling with while she was still dating Ed Sheeran, but who really knows in this sea of he-said-she-said. Niall may be a regular millionaire-dude, but he has character.

Yet, Harry Styles keeps Harry Stylin’ on, with his growing number of tattoos and his growing mane. Like Zayn (nee Zayn Malik), Styles will also release a solo album; unlike Zayn, though, Styles may star in a Christopher Nolan film. In his personal life, Styles appears to be still potentially dating Kendall Jenner, the supermodel daughter of Caitlyn (nee Bruce) and Kris Jenner and the sister to all those Kardashians. Photos leaked recently of the couple on vacation. Jenner and Styles reportedly dated back in 2014, and at the time, Styles allegedly complained that Jenner was boring, but definitely hot enough to hook up with (so 19 years old!), but perhaps time has made her less boring, and maybe hotter.

Then, I realized: I find Harry Styles boring now.

I don’t know if this says something about him, but my guess is maybe not, or else this flaming hot take will really just combust at any moment. Because I think it mostly says something about me. Perhaps that I’m young and capricious, but also old and disillusioned.

Because Harry Styles is the boy you admired afar in adolescence. He’s charming and witty and handsome and sings, too, but you’ve also never spoken to him, and maybe you will one day, and maybe you never will. But the day you do speak to him, you realize that you have nothing in common with him. You actually have more in common with Niall, but you realized that too late, and a good three years of fandom was wasted. And you will be assured that Harry Sytles will always end up dating Kendall Jenner, or another reiteration of Kendall Jenner. And this isn’t a good or bad thing, but it just is.

Harry Styles was never the boy you wanted, and will never be the boy you need. Because our collective quixotic dream boy will never really be the same boy in our collective reality.

***

“You are crazy,” a voice whispers to me from the deep, dark void.

Blac Chyna & Rob Kardashian Split, Probably

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[Insert shamrock emoji here]

Rob Kardashian, the only son of Robert Kardashian and Kris Jenner and the “mogul” behind a socks-only clothing line, has reportedly ended his relationship with his half-sister Kylie’s current boyfriend Tyga’s babymama Blac Chyna.

Whew, that was hard to get out.

This not-yet-confirmed news broke today after a whirlwind romance, which began when Blac Chyna posted an Instagram photo of her wrapped in some dude’s tattooed arms. That some dude was Rob Kardashian,as it turns out.

Soon after, the reclusive Rob, who has been in hiding for over a year due to physical and mental health issues that we’d rather not get into (but we fully support his road to recovery #pray4rob), began posting suggestive photos of and with his new lova. He even gifted Blac Chyna with an actually really cool pop art portrait of her, which likely left Kylie fuming over her half-brother’s burgeoning romance (Although perhaps she was busy promoting her poorly-named nail polish line).

Kylie wasn’t the only Kardashian to voice her distaste for this new coupling. Khloe, who housed Rob in her Calabasas mansion while she arranged cookies in jars, posted some not-so-subtle Tweets, including a Godfather reference: “Never go against the family,” presumably aimed toward Rob/Chyna (even though she later denied it). Rumor has it that Kim and Kourtney were not pleased with Rob’s social media antics either but likely had bigger issues to worry about like Kanye’s $53 million debt and Scott’s partying ways (#prayforye #prayforlorddisick).

Anyway, as of today, it looks like the Kardashian-Jenner Klan can breathe a collective sigh of relief because both Blac Chyna’s and Rob’s Instagram accounts have been scrubbed of any evidence of their relationship. If that isn’t the way to tell whether a relationship is over these days, we don’t know what is.

p.s. Rob: we’re still rooting for you to go to USC Law! It’s never too late, buddy! (This has nothing to do with the fact that I might want to go there).

Breaking: Zayn Malik is now just “Zayn”

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Unlike Niall Horan in One Direction’s “Perfect” music video, Zayn Malik is probably not interested in playing golf in his “PILLOWTALK” video.

Like Madonna and Cher before him, former One Direction member Zayn Malik has dropped his last name and is now simply “Zayn.” Along with his last name, Zayn has also dropped his first new song as a solo artist, “PILLOWTALK.”

In the back of my mind, I expected Zayn’s solo career to sort of drift into oblivion. I was one of those girls who felt sort of betrayed by Zayn’s departure from the band, mainly because I already purchased a $120 ticket to One Direction’s 2015 “On the Road Again” tour expecting to see ALL FIVE OF THEM when he made his announcement.  So I really think that both Simon Cowell and Zayn owe me one-fifth of my ticket price, meaning that they owe me $24 (I’m sure both Simon and Zayn have $12 to spare) because they robbed me of my chance to see Zayn’s gorgeousness AND hear his “Steal My Girl” high note live.

Sure, there were all those interviews where Zayn had to give the same spiel about how he left One Direction because it wasn’t really him anymore and he didn’t care for the music he was making. Interview after interview, I never really had a sense that there was a true artist behind all that mystery–just sort of an arrogant young man with a lovely falsetto without any depth to burn it with.

To my surprise, Zayn’s new song, “PILLOWTALK” is all over the Internet and all over Top 40 Radio. It’s a song that I know won’t grow on me, and I never want to go out of my way to listen to. Yet, I rarely switch the station when I hear it on the radio. Deep down, there’s a part of me who wants to like Zayn’s foray into tryhard sex god shit, but I just can’t.

There’s an Ariana Grande problem here, in the sense that I can’t understand what Zayn is singing most of the time. Unlike Ariana Grande’s catchier songs, though, “PILLOWTALK” sounds like that song that plays when two lame nerds in a movie walk into a club populated by a bunch of annoying bros. This song is for the AMBIANCE, man.

I don’t necessarily dislike the song, though I must agree with Harry Styles on this one–One Direction has done much better stuff, musically, and if the rest of Zayn’s album is anything like his first single, then it may not have been a good enough reason to abruptly leave the band. But I suppose this may all come down to a matter of taste.

Of course, I think like the music video is ridiculous, which I would kind of argue isn’t really up for debate. The “PILLOWTALK” music video features Zayn’s girlfriend, Gigi Hadid, as a sexed up love interest to a sexed up Zayn (dubbed by Medha, and Medha only, as “Gayn”).

To Hadid’s credit, she actually directed a much better music video for DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean” (Joe Jonas, Hadid’s ex-boyfriend and ex-member of another boy band, is the lead singer of DNCE), so it kind of sucks (yeah, this is the first time you’ll hear me feign any sympathy for a rich, pretty Victoria’s Secret model) that she needed to star in this stupid music video to support her boyfriend, when we all know she could have probably directed a better one herself.

That being said, I wish Zayn the best of luck, and I really do hope that Zayn and former bandmate (and former smoking buddy) Louis Tomlinson patch things up soon. Zayn reportedly liked Louis’ Instagram of his newborn son, Freddie, because double-tapping a photo is definitely millennial code for détente.

Nobody’s Perfect, We Gotta Work It (Out)

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Well, it appears Miley Cyrus, Disney-Channel star turned Bangerz twerker is back together with ex-fiancee Liam Hemsworth, the hotter of the Hemsworth brothers and the dude who plays Gale in the Hunger Games.

Side note to People Magazine: It is a travesty that you chose Chris Hemsworth as the Sexiest Man Alive when he’s not even the Sexiest Hemsworth Alive

Anyway, back to Miley & Liam. Yes, the prodigal daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus,  who played Disney Channel’s beloved pop queen Hannah Montana on the hit show of the same name  appears to be hanging out with the hotter Hemsworth again.

Miley and Liam met on the set of one of those terrible Nicholas Sparks movies . While I did not see this movie, I can only assume it was terrible because Nicholas Sparks. Actually, I might choose Nicholas Sparks over John Green, whose first few pages of “The Fault in Our Stars” or “TFIOS” (as the young people call it) made me nauseous.

Miam’s (Miley/Liam, obvs) movie did also star Greg Kinnear. We here at Initial Hype love Greg Kinnear and we can’t wait for the movie that finally casts him as Chief Justice John G. Roberts. Perhaps the film could portray the epic tale of the Affordable Care Act? JK, nobody would watch that.

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What was this post about? Oh right, Miley and Liam. Sorry, got lost in Greg’s and John’s eyes for a moment there. Such mesmerizing. So wow.

K, snap out of it.

Miley spent the holidays with the Hemsworths down undah and she was spotted wearing the old Neil Lane engagement ring that Liam proposed with back in 2012. This sparkler not only indicates that the two are back together but they actually might get married!

What an exciting time for Miam fans everywhere, who thought it was all over after Miley did this with Robin Thicke.

Shortly after, Paula Patton dumped Robin Thicke’s sorry ass (yaaaas, queen) and it was only a matter of time before Miley and Liam followed suit. We’re glad that of the two, this couple got back together. We just hope Patrick Schwarzenegger and his pizzas will be fine.