In an ad spot sure to satisfy pop music lovers and scientific geniuses alike, a new Super Bowl commercial starring Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein has been unveiled, and you may never hear Lady Gaga the same again. Depicting Einstein playing "Bad Romance" on violin, the spot is a commercial for new National Geographic Channel show, Genius, which charts Einstein's fascinating life as one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century.
You might well be wondering to yourself what in the name of Gaga does Einstein or science have to do with "Bad Romance"? It goes well beyond being a reference to Gaga's Halftime performance at the Super Bowl, and to understand it, you first need to really appreciate how gloriously beautiful and dramatic this rendition of the song is.
I mean, as all Gaga fans are already aware, "Bad Romance" is one of the greatest pop songs ever written. It's a unique and passionate love song about a toxic suitor, which breaks all the rules of love songs. It features an aggressive main hook that sounds more like a cry of war than a siren call, and a seductive break that gallops into a gigantic, impassioned chorus.
But the Genius version on violin? The love sounds dreamier, the passion throbs stronger, and that aggression sounds even more volatile and harsh. Clearly, there may be something about Einstein's life and character that's being suggested with this particular song choice and specific rendition, and I am so here for it.
Firstly, it's worth acknowledging that as well as being a genius physicist, Einstein was also a great lover of music and would play the violin as a brainstorming technique. So, it makes sense that the commercial would choose to show him working through a tough equation by hitting the strings for contemplation.
But, alongside his spectacular scientific achievements, Einstein is also appreciated for his rebellious nature and unconventional character. Which is portrayed in the commercial within that final tongue-out shot — a direct imitation of the Arthur Sasse's iconic portrait of Einstein. In his youth, for example, Einstein had such a contempt for authority that he was actually excluded from one school and told by another that he'd never amount to much.
Suffice to say, if Gaga and Einstein had ever been schoolmates, they likely would have been good pals and probably gotten kicked out together for just being too badass.
Specifically, though, "Bad Romance" seems to also be in reference to the passionate, turbulent, and complicated personal relationships of his adult life. In 2006, letters written by Einstein were discovered, which documented the complexities of his two marriages. While his first marriage appeared to be miserable, and even cruel, his second appeared to fair a little better. He was still, however, reportedly unfaithful to both wives.
The true love story of Einstein's life is surely that of his relationship with science. And though he may have struggled with the "Bad Romance" of maintaining monogamous, stable, relationships with women throughout his life, his good romance with science is something that will continue to endure.
Genius premieres on the National Geographic Channel on Tuesday, April 25.