It might be indelicate to protest in the streets after the Gilmore Girls revival airs on Netflix, but I’m already making signs because I know I won’t get the one thing I want: Dave Rygalski.
Dave, played by
Seth Cohen Adam Brody, dated Lane for a brief, phantasmagoric spell of Season 3, before Brody sold his soul to Fox for The O.C. and set fire to a long string of dynamite which eventually destroyed Lane’s entire character arc.
We spent too little time with him, yet he remains the best boy any fictitious teenage girl could date or any very real adult.
Dave first showed up in the Season 3 episode “Application Anxiety” as part of what would become Lane’s band for well beyond Dave’s time as a character. They start riffing immediately, talking about obscure bands before he gives her a demo tape with nerdy equipment.
“I think a love song’s in their future,” says Rory, before holding hands with Dean and canceling all love songs.
The love is a slow-burn. After that first meeting, we glimpse one band practice, and then there is no Dave until episode 7, when Lane anxiously awaits his phone call at the Gilmores’ house (Dean is present, displaying all the sensitivity of well, of Dean).
“I’m gonna love him forever,” says Lane, speaking for all of us.
The episode ends with some major moments in Rory’s love life (content warning: this is the dance marathon episode), but more importantly, a Dave revelation. He shows up at the dance marathon singing the praises of Mrs. Kim’s sandwiches and concocting an elaborate tale about his parents and Bible study.
There are some key points made in this scene:
1) Dave is a great improviser and quick on his feet.
2) HE IS AMAZING WITH MOMS.
As a first generation kid whose friends used decidedly Lane-esque measures to sneak around, I cannot overstate the importance of a boy who looks your immigrant mother in the eye and praises her cooking.
In “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving,” Dave goes the extra mile by spending his special day playing hymns for the Kims’ luncheon, eating Tofurkey and eventually coming back to retrieve a pocket bible. This of course leads to their first kiss and to the iconic “BIBLE KISS BIBLE” page of 2002 that I have sent to multiple friends in my adult life.
Dave puts up with a lot for his love of Lane, including fake fliers and Lane’s dummy dates with eligible Korean bachelors (remember when he ran a mile because he was jealous of Yiung Chui?). He once read the entire Bible from cover-to-cover in one night, a feat achieved only thrice by Mrs. Kim. He demonstrates an emotional maturity unparalleled by most adult men, and certainly not by the romantically plebeian contemporaries dated by Rory.
Later in the season, Jess refers to Dave as a “cool guy,” which is basically a marriage proposal from 17-year-old Jess Mariano. We tragically never get a Rory-Jess-Lane-Dave double date because Dave and Lane’s love is a dirty little secret and Jess isn’t allowed to attend the prom. Would Dave’s magical presence have made a difference in Rory and Jess’s tragically doomed romance? Absolutely yes.
In the world of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Dave is basically Lane’s “Sk8er Boi.” Not that he wasn’t good enough, but now he’s a super star, slamming on his guitar, and Lane is the mother of Zack’s children, her musical career in limbo. I predict a secret fifth episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (“Global Warming”) which follows Dave from the end of Season 3 through to adulthood and his triumphant reunion with Lane (preferably in an airport or the Stars Hollow gazebo).
Jess attends the wedding. He cries.