Never mind the close contest or the 24-21 final score; the real excitement this Super Bowl Sunday came — as usual — not from what happened on the playing field, but from what came onscreen when the game clock was still. The Super Bowl commercial remains one of our best gauges of the Zeitgeist, our roadmap to the national psyche (and at $2.4 million for 30 seconds, it’d better be good for something). But who could have guessed that this year’s map would lead, of all places, to Anatevka?
In a commercial co-sponsored by Pepsi and iTunes, the platinum-tressed pop starlet Gwen Stefani took a page out of Tevye’s playbook and sang of what she would do if she were a “Rich Girl.” In the song, originally a track from Stefani’s album, “Love, Angel, Music, Baby,” the former No Doubt front woman sings, “No man could test me, impress me, my cash flow would never ever end/Cause I’d have all the money in the world, if I was a wealthy girl,” over a hip-hop melody riffing on the score from “Fiddler on the Roof.” Though the spirit of yearning that informed the original doesn’t quite carry over into its 21st-century counterpart, there’s no denying that the tune remains catchy. It was tough to walk through the Forward’s hallways this week without hearing someone scatting “Yadda dadda dadda dadda dum.”