I may be alone in my assertion of this, but I have to believe there is a good contingent out there that would second this emotion: old-school Ryan Gosling is better than current-day Ryan Gosling. Hands-down.
My feelings on this matter might be swayed by what is commonly called the "hipsterish" tendency to only like an artist's early work because one was an early supplicant at the altar of said artist's greatness.
You see, around 16 years ago I was basically the modern-day equivalent of a Belieber for Gosling. I filled approximately two journals with outpourings of pre-teen adoration for the actor/singer/triple threat -- the existence of which I have kept relatively on the DL until now, when they could function as serviceable fodder for an article on an entertainment news site. (Never throw anything away, folks!)
From a brief perusal of said journals, I have pulled together a pretty thorough argument for why Young Gosling is better than this dude.
At least to my 13-year-old self. Because ... I mean ... abs.
1) He Was On An Excellent Program Called 'Breaker High'
Gosling played a "nerdy" dude named Sean Hanlon on said show, which was about kids who went to school on a cruise ship -- like you do. When the network that broadcast the show in my hometown of Mystic, Connecticut, changed the show's timeslot to an hour before school was out, I wrote a strongly worded letter. I wish I were kidding.
2) And On 'Breaker High' He Had Amazing Hair
Look at this hair. Just look at it. Flowing, glowing and bouncy as hell.
Sure, this was a cut that was very popular back in the day -- but it was pretty hard to pull off for your average JNCO-wearing teen. The fact that Gosling had it, though, caused me to have an intense crush on a boy with a similar coif -- a poor man's Gosling, if you will -- whose name I won't mention here because Facebook. Behold the power of Gosling 1.0.
3) And Dressed In Lounge Lizard Threads
Gosling pretty much played an early-day hipster on "Breaker High," busting out vintage slang in his vintage duds. You have him to thank for your current luck with women, oh! denizens of Williamsburg, Portland and beyond.
4) He Also Dated This Girl...
A.K.A. the object of all my teenage ire because she kissed Ryan and goofed around with him thusly. We're cool now, though. She went on to star in a series of TV shows and movies and I wrote this article.
5) His Favorite Book Was 'The Hobbit'
I know this because it was on a now-defunct fansite the contents of which I copied down into my journal. I'm taking his early interest in this book to indicate that he foresaw the massive success of the cinematic franchise. Send teenage Gosling your money, Peter Jackson.
6) And His Favorite Food Was Steak
This is also info gleaned from that fansite. Do you still like steak, Ryan? Just curious.
7) And He Starred In An Episode Of 'Are You Afraid Of The Dark?'
It was about a haunted radio station and the inevitable decline of terrestrial radio at the hands of the digital revolution -- or something. I may not be remembering this correctly.
8) And In 'Young Hercules'
Kevin Sorbo had nothing on Ry!
9) And On 'The Mickey Mouse Club'
To be honest, I never watched this, but his inclusion on the show meant that he was a triple threat, the most coveted of positions among theatre kids (with an "re").
10) On Which He Sang And Made This Face
I mean, c'mon.
11) Your Love For Him Seemed Attainable
He was on a show about a cruise ship high school. It wasn't like he was going to become a huge star with rippling muscles and legions of screaming fans, right?
12) Because He Wasn't As Famous As This Guy
I mean, it's not like he was starring in tear-jerking, romantic cryfests like Leo, right? (coughTheNotebookcough).
13) And Did We Mention That Hair?
One time is just not enough.