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Your Jewish Super Bowl XLVIII Highlights

ScarJo’s SodaStream spot, that ‘Seinfeld’ reunion, and Coca Cola’s yarmulkes

Stephanie Butnick
February 03, 2014
The Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos play in Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.(John Moore/Getty Images)
The Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos play in Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.(John Moore/Getty Images)

Last night’s Super Bowl was a complete blowout, with the Seattle Seahawks dominating the Denver Broncos from the first minutes of the game. But for those of us who are more interested in the commercials and halftime performance, the night was pretty entertaining. And also pretty Jewish.

Bruno Mars, the quarter-Jewish halftime performer (dad’s side), did a stand-up job, showing off his drum skills and fancy dance moves and even letting the shirtless Red Hot Chili Peppers sing one of their songs during his act. The Hollywood Reporter called it “a real barnburner of a bar-mitzvah,” which I think they meant as a good thing. If that’s not enough for you, he and his writing partner Ari Levine co-wrote Matisyahu’s peace anthem “One Day.”

And then there were the commercials. My favorite was probably this Chobani spot, if only because it featured the voiceover to end all voiceovers: the silky sounds of Mandy Patinkin. Plus there was a cool bear, and Bob Dylan’s “I Want You” playing in the background, which couldn’t have been cheap.

The much-speculated-about Seinfeld reunion also happened last night, in the form of an ad for Jerry Seinfeld’s web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Which I guess makes Seinfeld’s statement last week that his top-secret project was “not not” either of those things not not incorrect. The ad featured Jerry telling George he wasn’t invited to the Wasserstein’s Super Bowl party this year—he over-cheered, and availed himself of the toilet in the master bathroom. Plus Newman. It was, sadly, all pretty meh.

Bob Dylan lent his voice and music to an ad for Chrysler, something of an oddity for the usually commercialism-averse folk singer, asking, “Is there anything more American than America?” Probably capitalism. And saying things like “Let Asia assemble your phone.”

Coca Cola made Super Bowl history for its portrayal of two gay parents in their ‘It’s Beautiful’ commercial, though the Internet seems to have been too distracted by its inane outrage over the ad’s multi-lingual singing of “America The Beautiful” to notice. I was personally distracted by the yarmulkes prominently featured in several of the scenes, but I have since recovered and re-watched. You should do the same.

Diddy’s Time Warner ad was chock full of celebrities (sorry, there’s really no other way to describe it), but this humble blogger was unimpressed until Drake himself showed up, and made eyes at True Blood’s Sookie Stackhouse (you go, Anna Paquin).

Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream ad aired in the final quarter, though with her dig at Coke and Pepsi edited out (otherwise it would have been banned, for the second year in a row). The Internet was abuzz with criticism of the company’s ad, but it was grammatical and not ideological: she says “less sugar, less bottles,” when the English language dictates it should be “fewer bottles.” You can’t win them all.

Great job out there, guys. We’ll see you next year.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.