Here’s what happened to Dave in Gilmore Girls (why Adam Brody left)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 09: Adam Brody attends the FX's "Fleishman is in Trouble" FYC event at DGA Theater Complex on May 09, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 09: Adam Brody attends the FX's "Fleishman is in Trouble" FYC event at DGA Theater Complex on May 09, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage) /

Throughout each season of Gilmore Girls, boyfriends came and went for Lorelai, Rory, and Lane, but all of us fans became attached to some more than others. It’s safe to say most people are Team Luke and Team Jess for Lorelai and Rory respectively, and for a lot of us, it’s always been Dave Rygalski for Lane. Adam Brody might have been the best Gilmore Girls boyfriend ever?

Brody makes his first appearance as Dave in “Application Anxiety,” the third episode of season 3, in which Lane puts an ad in the paper looking for a band to join as a drummer. The pair meet after a town meeting, as Dave approaches her about the ad. From there, the sparks between the two musicians fly and they begin dating, in spite of the watchful eye of Mrs. Kim.

Unfortunately, Adam Brody only appears in nine episodes of the third season (and the series), having departed after episode 20, “Say Goodnight, Gracie.” After staying up all night to read the entire Bible so Mrs. Kim will allow him to take Lane to prom, he’s never seen again. The show explains that Dave moved to California and the couple tries to make long distance work.

Of course, Dave moving to California was a cheeky nod to Adam Brody nabbing a starring role in Fox’s buzzy teen drama series The O.C. The series premiered in August 2003, just a few months after his final episode of Gilmore Girls in May 2003. That’s the real reason Dave left the show: So the actor who played him could go on to play Seth Cohen in the pop culture phenomenon.

Because of Brody’s packed schedule as a series regular on The O.C., it was most likely nearly impossible for him to return to wrap up his role as Dave, meaning the end of Lane and Dave’s relationship happens with half of the couple offscreen. As much as we loved them together, Lane went on to find love with another bandmate, Zack. They marry and have twin boys, Kwan and Steve.

Brody also didn’t return to reprise his role for the Netflix revival miniseries Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which would have been such an interesting blast from the past for Lane. Back in 2021, Brody opened up about the time he spent on the original series, saying he struggled with how precise they were in their performances with the dialogue, as someone who later improved on The O.C., while also praising the “high level” of writing. He called it “still some of the best written stuff I’ve ever gotten to do.”

Even though there are surely fans who wish he’d never left Gilmore Girls and continued to play Dave, he made the right decision. The O.C. became a massive hit for its first three seasons, becoming a watercooler show that was highly talked about with every plot twist, cliffhanger, and unexpected character death. The show ended in 2007 after four seasons. Twenty years later, both shows have stood the test of time and remain beloved pieces of early aughts entertainment.

What an incredible honor it must be to have been a part of two of the biggest shows of the 2000s and share that legacy. These days, Brody continues to be a successful actor and director, and in 2014, he married Gossip Girl actress and singer-songwriter Leighton Meester. Together they share two children, a daughter born in 2015 and a son born in 2020.

Watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix and The O.C. on Max.

Next. Luke and Lorelai and the 5 best (and 3 worst) Gilmore Girls couples. dark