- Gilmore Girls -Why Adam Brody Was Lane's Best Boyfriend On 'Gilmore Girls' #JusticeForDaveRygalski
Sure, Gilmore Girls' Dave Rygalski — Lane's first love and master of subterfuge, played by Adam Brody — is an early version of who he would one day blossom into: Seth Cohen on The O.C. But I would posit that in all the arguing over Dave vs. Seth, one thing is lost: Dave Rygalski is completely underrated. Because Dave Rygalski is Lane's best boyfriend.
Niche music taste? Check. (Also a Seth Cohen specialty.) A rapport with Lane that makes them click? Check. Respect for himself, her friends, and in oh-so-many-ways her mother, the indomitable Mrs. Kim? Check. Check. Check — and, oh, he's a musician, too? — check.
If he isn't pulling the eager switch and taking his 15-minute break to leave his gig for your mother's church group just to see you at the ice rink, we don't want it. Not in the year of our Lord 2003, or, better yet, the year of Satan 2020.
My dear Luke's Diner patrons, may we recall just why Dave Rygalski is indeed the primo boyfriend of Lane's dating roster?
Shared Passion For Music From The Get-Go + A Spark You Can't Fake
From the second Dave answered Lane’s newspaper ad for “drummer seeking band whose influences include these, count ‘em, 43 music artists,” we (and Rory) all could see their chemistry boiling over. He loved 38 of her fave bands! He recognized her Dead Kennedys shirt! In the infamous words of Chloë Grace Moretz in (500) Days of Summer, “just because she likes the same bizarro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soul mate.” Sure, but it’s still a pretty promising start to any relationship when you share the same niche tastes and hobbies.
Their music banter also extends to smoothing things over with the band when they can’t play too loud in the music shop for rehearsal in fear of disturbing Lane’s mom, Mrs. Kim. No matter what, Dave won’t let Lane leave the band, insisting that “That's not what anybody wants, especially me.” Sealing the deal, and their bond, he tells her that she’s never gonna be their Pete Best. No Ringo is gonna come along and take her place. And if rewriting Beatles history isn’t a love story in the making, then I don’t know what is.
Gives Lane Real TLC & Shows Up For Her
Anyone with eyes and a gut feeling can tell that Lane falls for Dave hard and fast. And if you’re curious as to why, well, he does a subtle thing that really appeals to potential partners. It’s called listening. If you recall, he pops by Lane and Mrs. Kim’s egg salad booth at the Stars Hollow 24-hour Dance Marathon because he missed her. How did he know she would be there? "You mentioned this the last time we talked," he reminds her.
Seeing your crush magically appear after you casually mentioned something you’re taking part in a) feels straight out of a movie and b) shows he’s putting in effort and pays attention. Plus, he openly tells her how much he missed her. Who says you can’t learn communicative skills from television?
God Does He Ever Try to Please Her Mom
It’s no secret that Mrs. Kim is wound very tight and isn’t the easiest to please. But Dave never begrudges Lane for how important her relationship with her mother is to her. Rather, he supports her entirely and does his darndest to somehow fit in, even cranking the charm all the way up at the Dance Marathon by praising Mrs. Kim's egg salad recipe and touting how devout of a good Christian boy he is *wink wink*.
So much so that he even plays hymns at the Kim family’s Thanksgiving gathering. He ditches his own family just to play Christian songs to please his crush’s mom? That’s above and beyond in any generation. He’s not too square though, as he leaves his Bible behind purposefully so Lane can sneak out to return it to him around the corner... and share their first kiss! Respectful to her mom but also is cool enough to slyly arrange an unsupervised meet-up? Hot. Fun. A little on the dangerous side. Who wouldn’t be head over heels?
He's a Smooth, Scheming Operator
Dave also is down with keeping their relationship on the DL where her mom and their bandmates are concerned. Hey, we’re all for privacy in a romance all to the end of pleasing Mrs. Kim so much that she just has to approve of him to be Lane’s boyfriend and her date to the prom. He sits in their pew at church and plays at their family wedding. Schmoozing seems to be in Dave’s DNA (a notable precursor for Seth Cohen on The O.C.).
What’s more, Dave even keeps up the charade when Mrs. Kim tries to convince Lane to go to the prom with Yung Chiu, her mommy-approved date because he’s Korean. Even though Dave is heartbroken, he is still respectful around Mrs. Kim, like when she sees him driving around with bandmates Zack and Brian and he says these unwashed boys are in a Christian combo with him, still trying not to give Lane’s secret away that she is really in a rock band (or that they’re dating).
His natural gift of subterfuge also comes in handy when he concocts the idea for Lane to fake-date (cue any teen rom-com) Yung Chiu, since he also has a Japanese girlfriend who his parents don't accept.
Now, Dave does become jealous of Yung Chiu and races to the hockey rink to check in on his and Lane's fake date during the 15 minute break Mrs. Kim allotted him and his "Christian combo." But hey, if the girl you liked was out with someone else who her mom chose over you, that's a hard thorn in your side to remove. And everyone's got their limits, like when he finds out at their house party gig that Yung Chiu is actually in love with Lane. Not cool, man. We’re not in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before here where the fake dating turns into real dating.
Crucially He Respects Himself
The game-changer of a moment though comes after Lane calls her mom from the party and confesses everything - the band, the boyfriend, her drunken state. Mortified, she tells Dave the next day to just call the whole prom thing off.
But Dave didn't give up or throw in the towel just because now everything was out in the open. He has enough integrity, respect for Lane, for her mother, and for himself to come with open arms to Lane's home wearing a suit jacket and tie and fight for their relationship.
He politely requests to speak to Mrs. Kim and lays everything on the line. In case you forgot his epic speech, I've copied it in full below (you're welcome):
A few weeks ago, you told me that Lane had a crush on me. Well, I have a crush on her, too. Now I know you have very strict rules about dating and boys, but I just want you to know that I’m a good person. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I’ve never gotten a ticket. I’m healthy. I take care of myself. I floss. I never watch more than 30 minutes of television a night, partly because I think it’s a waste of time and partly because there’s nothing on. I respect my parents. I do well in school. I never play video games, in case they do someday prove that playing them could turn you into a serial killer. I don’t drink coffee. I hate soda because the carbonation freaks me out. I’m happy to give up meat if you feel strongly about it. I don’t mind wearing a tie. I enjoyed playing those hymns on my guitar, and I really, really want to take your daughter to the prom.
Dave is gracious, but stands up for himself and is not in the least a pushover. To be with someone, they have to love themselves and have the guts to prove it and see it through. Dave has that in spades. And even when Mrs. Kim only offers a vague quote in response, Dave spends hours reading the Bible cover to cover in one night only to find zilch.
Disheveled and in the same clothes, he comes back the next day pleading for an answer from Mrs. Kim. FYI it was from Shakespeare's Henry VI. But his faith in himself and their relationship wins Mrs. Kim over enough to let our star-crossed lovers go to the prom together, just going to show it's never over till it's over...and till you stand your ground thanks to your reading abilities.
I Do Have a Few Gripes Though...
Dave and Lane, Dane if we want to get couple-y, have a beat the odds love story that defies custom. But what I still want to know is why we never saw them go to the prom itself when they fought so hard to even be allowed to go together. Wouldn't that be a seminal occasion? Rory looking at a bag of photos we as viewers never get to see is not enough. We were too invested!
And furthermore, in Season 4, Dave heads off to college in California (ahem, The O.C.), and he and Lane are going long distance. They argue over a jug in Episode 8 that Lane thought was a symbol of marriage in her family that Mrs. Kim wanted to send him as a present. It's not. And in Episode 11 Rory mentions that Lane is still with Dave. But we never hear of them actually breaking up. It could have been as easy as one line thrown in there just to close the end of their love story, even if none of us thought it should have ended.
Distance and The O.C. may have kept them apart, but if 2020 brought anything good, Keiko Agena (Lane) and Adam Brody (Dave) did reunite 17 years later on an Instagram Live in September to encourage voting in the 2020 election...and to answer a few Gilmore Girls questions.
Agena shared that one of her favorite "Dave" memories was when he read "the Bible all in one night," she reminisced. "I thought that was pretty special. I think that might have been the most extreme thing a character has done for me."
For his part, Brody recognized that "I've seen just on my end, I think some people wanted our characters to end up together and they did not."
There is hope though because the real life Lane, aka Gilmore Girls co-producer Helen Pai, who Lane was based off of, and Dave, comedy writer Dave Rygalski, got married.
"In another universe, they ended up together," Agena said.