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The 'Gyllenhaal-aissaance' is an unholy portmanteau that should never have been uttered

The 'Gyllenhaal-aissaance' is an unholy portmanteau that should never have been uttered

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Disclosure: In a 2014 article for a college newspaper, this author called Jake Gyllenhaal "the actor of his generation." Disclosure: In a 2015 episode of The Vergecast, this author admitted to feeling like she might be Jake Gyllenhaal's mother.

We've addressed the defensibility of writing a full article about a single tweet on these pages before, and the results were conclusive: yes it is defensible!

Thank God, because my irascible fury is sometimes set off by the small stuff. Example:

As you can see, this tweet is a total outrage, obviously warranting public intervention in the form of a several hundred-word post.

I know that tacking "aissance" (in this case, "aissaance") onto the end of literally anything that is kind of, debatably, in some ways, making a comeback is super funny and a great original joke, and I myself have been proud of a sentence involving that particular pun subset.


This joke is not my best overall work, but I think it does what it needs to. In the case of "Gyllenhaal-aissaance," however, EVERYTHING IS ALL WRONG, COMPLETELY.

This word has nine vowels in it. Nine. Based on my knowledge of holy numbers — three for the Trinity, seven for "perfection," and 10 because Dante says so — nine is not a holy number. I would go so far as to say that it is an unholy number, because it's causing me so much grief in this moment.

Here are some other words that have nine vowels in them:

  • uvulopalatopharyngoplasty
  • aphrodisiomaniacal
  • radiocommunication

These are words that I will not define and you should not look up, because they're unilaterally awful and an unnecessary boar to spell.

Jake Gyllenhaal doesn't need your sloppy portmanteaus

The "aissance" portmanteau is one we've reserved for movie stars who used to be good, then were bad, then became good again. Or — at a minimum — used to be working, then were not working, then started working again. That's because renaissance means "rebirth," as I'm sure you've heard from your middle school social studies teacher and from a recent musical which was critically panned (by me, in some tweets).

I don't really have the energy to explain how absurd it is to imply that Jake Gyllenhaal is in need of being born again, so I'll just let some information from his publicly-available-for-fact-checking Wikipedia page do that:

  • His film debut was a minor role in City Slickers.
  • He played Donnie Darko in Donnie Darko, a cult classic that would impact every Halloween subsequent to its 2001 release. I can't prove this, but I suspect this is also when it became cool to fall in love with troubled men.
  • In 2005, he very nearly won an Oscar for Brokeback Mountain, a film which challenged your parents to be better people and made Annie Proux famous again.
  • In the same year he was in Jarhead, a film which is critical of George W. Bush.
  • In 2007, he starred in a David Fincher masterpiece, Zodiac. Dozens of crime procedural shows are direct rip-offs of this movie, and it was also the ceremonious comeback of Robert Downey Jr., which makes it not one, but two cultural "moments."
  • In 2009, he played opposite Tobey McGuire as brothers in Brothers. I cannot look at that sentence without laughing, but the movie is fine.
  • In 2010, Gyllenhaal starred in Love and Other Drugs, talked incessantly about how hot Anne Hathaway is, and was nominated for a Golden Globe.
  • In the same year, he was written about extensively, in code, by Taylor Swift.
  • In the same year, he starred in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, which I have not watched because I can intuit when things will be bad for my health. Regardless, it was a commercial hit.
  • In 2012, he starred in End of Watch, a Blair Witch Project-style buddy cop movie with uncommonly high stakes, which has made me cry during every single one of 12 viewings. In it, he and Anna Kendrick sing along to a Cam'ron song for an entire scene for no apparent reason.
  • Denis Villeneuve aka Canadian Martin Scorsese decided Jake Gyllenhaal was his muse, and cast him as the lead in both 2013's Prisoners and 2014's Enemy. Both of these movies are so good I can't believe you aren't watching them right now instead of reading this.

He then went on to be respected by a small handful of people for his role in Nightcrawler, a movie about Jake Gyllenhaal being the next American treasure to be serially snubbed by the Oscars. People compared him to a young Robert De Niro, but whatever.


The trailer that inspired the aforementioned and hopefully now forgotten tweet is pretty good, and you should watch it.