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Are Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling the Same Person?

And while we’re at it, what about Ryan Phillippe?

Hunkzone illustration
Hunkzone illustration

Is Ryan Reynolds actually Ryan Gosling? Is Ryan Gosling actually Ryan Reynolds? Are either of these Ryans actually Ryan Phillippe? Is Ryan Phillippe actually both Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling? Are all three of them actually TV host Ryan Seacrest? Is TV host Ryan Seacrest actually professional basketball player Ryan Anderson, who is actually disgraced professional swimmer Ryan Lochte? I wish that I had an easy answer for you here. But I do not. Because there isn’t one. We are fucked, Ryan-wise.

A new TV show called Shooter premiered Tuesday night. It’s based on the 2007 movie Shooter, which was based on the 1993 book Point of Impact. It stars Ryan Phillippe (possibly Ryan Gosling, perhaps Ryan Reynolds). It’s a fun show; if we have to keep things strictly Ryan-based, I would say it’s the Ryan Anderson of TV shows, but less so in that it’s into shooting (guns, 3s) and more so in that it exists and is a thing in my life that I am familiar with but not sure I’m willing to become invested in just yet. But this article is not about Shooter. It’s a thing about Ryans that was inspired by Shooter.

I Googled “Is Ryan Reynolds actually Ryan Gosling?” following a conversation that my wife and I had over dinner one evening recently. Turns out, last year a person wondered aloud the same thing on Twitter and Ryan Reynolds responded to her saying that he and Gosling were different people because “Ryan Gosling has light BLOND hair. And Ryan Reynolds is a cunt,” which is just about the most Ryan Reynolds way to answer that question that I can think of, though I have to admit that Ryan Reynolds could probably figure out an even more Ryan Reynolds way to answer that question, more even than I could, given that he is Ryan Reynolds (and possibly Ryan Gosling, among other Ryans) and I am Shea Serrano (and not any other Ryans).

These are some things that Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling sort of have in common:

  • They are both Canadian. (!)
  • They both have children. (!!)
  • They both are at, or over, 6 feet tall. (!!!)
  • They both weigh approximately either 180 pounds (Ryan Gosling) or 190 pounds (Ryan Reynolds). (!!!!)
  • They both were born on either November 12, 1980 (Ryan Gosling) or October 23, 1976 (Ryan Reynolds). (!!!!!)
  • They both are either not married (Ryan Gosling) or married (Ryan Reynolds). (!!!!!!)
  • They both were in either a movie about finance (Ryan Gosling, The Big Short) or a movie about being a waiter (Ryan Reynolds, Waiting…). (!!!!!!!)
  • They both are either a director (Ryan Gosling) or not a director (Ryan Reynolds). (!!!!!!!!)
  • They both either have the last name Gosling (Ryan Gosling) or the last name Reynolds (Ryan Reynolds). (!!!!!!!!!)

It’s very eerie, right? What’s even more eerie, though, is if you compare Ryan Reynolds to Ryan Reynolds. Look at this:

  • Ryan Reynolds has the exact same face as Ryan Reynolds. (!)
  • Ryan Reynolds has the exact same body as Ryan Reynolds. (!!)
  • Ryan Reynolds has the exact same parents and family members as Ryan Reynolds. (!!!)
  • Ryan Reynolds has the exact same memories as Ryan Reynolds. (!!!!)
  • Ryan Reynolds has the same number of hairs and cells as Ryan Reynolds. (!!!!!)

It’s hard to ignore all of that. So I say with certainty that, yes, Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Reynolds are the same person. And I say with suspicion that Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling are possibly the same person, though maybe not, but possibly so, but also possibly other Ryans as well.

Here’s a slightly different question: Of all the Ryans listed, who’s the best Ryan? Pretend that we’re measuring all of the Ryan-based Ryanisms. Who comes out first?

Here’s the answer: Ryan Phillippe. Because he was in Cruel Intentions, a perfect movie. None of the other Ryans were in Cruel Intentions. Look:

No Ryan Gosling on the cast list on IMDb. No Ryan Reynolds, either. But actually maybe Ryan Gosling is in Cruel Intentions. And maybe so too is Ryan Reynolds. Because those two both might actually be Ryan Phillippe, who stars in Shooter and who might actually be other Ryans, but he’s definitely not Ryan Howard, but only because he is not a professional baseball player, not because he isn’t black. Ryans are post-racial, although no Ryans would ever use the term “post-racial,” because Ryans are smart enough to know that “post-racial” is a lie, and you would know better too if you were one of the Ryans, but you are not, and neither am I. Sadly, once again: We are all fucked, Ryan-wise.

The only time a non-Ryan became a Ryan was in a movie in 2011 called The Change-Up. It was about two guys, one of whom was Jason Bateman, the other of whom was Ryan Reynolds (possibly Ryan Gosling, maybe Ryan Phillippe), and they ended up peeing in a fountain at the same time in the rain and so then they switched bodies, which is not how peeing works as I have experienced it in my life thus far. The movie was a flop, and that probably shouldn’t have been the case, because Jason Bateman is almost always funny and charming and good. But it had to be a flop, because only a Ryan can be a Ryan. Not even Jason Bateman can be a Ryan, and that’s saying a lot.

Try this quiz:

Here are three different Ryans. One of them is Ryan Phillippe, one of them is Ryan Reynolds, and one of them is Ryan Gosling. Can you tell them apart?

(The first one is Ryan Gosling. The second one is Ryan Phillippe. The third one is Ryan Reynolds.)

Earlier, I mentioned my wife and I having a conversation about Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling. It originally started out as an argument about who would be better in a romantic comedy between the two Ryans and Miles Teller. She said that Miles Teller was in last place of the three because there’s always a part in those movies where the guy has to relay his love in a desperate and vulnerable way (but desperate and vulnerable in a very accidentally and passionately handsome manner, like the “It Wasn’t Over” scene in The Notebook), and that Teller can do a lot of things, but he can’t do that yet. And I agree with her that Teller is in last place, but it’s because he’s not a Ryan. He’s not even a Bryan, or even a Brian. The conversation turned into an argument (she settled on Reynolds, I settled on Gosling). Imagine my chagrin later when I realized we were both arguing for the same person, smh.

The conversation ended when she said that it didn’t matter who was better of the three, because Adam Sandler was better than all of them in romantic comedies, and at first I thought it was a preposterous statement, but then I remembered The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates, Funny People, Anger Management, and Punch-Drunk Love. Sometimes not being a Ryan is OK, I guess.

Right at the halfway point of the first episode of Shooter, two Secret Service agents ride away from a meeting with Bob Lee Swagger, Ryan Phillippe’s character. One of the agents, Jack Payne, tells the other agent, Isaac Johnson, that Swagger “don’t seem like much.” Johnson responds with a story about how Swagger, while on a mission in Afghanistan, fought off 200 members of the Taliban who were going to do terrible things to a bunch of girls at a school. He tells them how Swagger went on a 46-hour hunting spree, ultimately killing 51 “command level” Taliban members. He finishes the story with a warning: “Underestimate Bob Lee Swagger at your own peril. He’s the real deal.” I could say the same for Ryan Phillippe, and for Ryan Gosling, and for Ryan Reynolds, and for all the other Ryans, all of whom are the same, even if they are not. (But they definitely are.)