Much of the Gilmore Girls‘ universe was inspired by the personal life of its creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino. From the name of the series, which comes from the bank where she and Daniel Palladino used to go, through the numerous jobs of Kirk (Sean Gunn), who were inspired by her father’s story and even the character of Lane Kim (Keiko Agena), based on her best friend, the show’s producer, Helen Pai.
In fiction, Lane is addicted to music and hides her “sinful” life from her religious mother, Seventh-day Adventist, Mrs. Kim. In the third season she ends up meeting Dave Rygalski (Adam Brody), a candidate to join her band, Hep Alien, which is an anagram of Helen Pai’s name. The two end up getting involved and facing the obstacles of dating until Dave had to leave the show – the actor was cast to play Seth Cohen in The OC.
In real life, despite several similarities, the story was a little bit different and had a happy ending that has lasted 20 years: Helen and Dave Rygalski met, dated and are still together today. We chatted with writer and musician David Rygalski, who played Hep Alien’s songs off-camera in Gilmore Girls, and he answered some questions sent by fans on our Facebook group.
How did you and Helen meet each other and how long have you been married?
Helen and I will be married 20 years this November 5th. I met Helen when she was working on Married With Children. A fellow comedy writer I met working on Late Night with David Letterman also worked on Married With Children and introduced us. We were concert going friends for 3 years before we started dating.
November 5th? It has something to do with Lorelai and Luke’s wedding?
Wow! I didn’t know that the anniversary days lined up. It has to be a coincidence.
How is your relationship with Amy and Dan?
Amy and Dan are the most amazing, loving, caring generous people. We hate that they live in New York now and don’t get to spend the time with them that we used to.
What about your relationship with Keiko and Adam Brody
We see Keiko every now and then. Last was shooting the revival. I haven’t seen Adam Brody since he appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to promote The OC. I visited him in his dressing room and thanked him for being the image that pops up on Google if anyone searches for me.
Were you persistent with her just like Dave was with Lane on the show?
When we first met as friends I would call her and try to make plans. I went to see a friend’s band play and she was there coincidentally to see her boyfriend’s band. I was unaware she had a boyfriend. Three years later we saw a band I can’t remember who and went to grab a bite after. We both mentioned that we broke up with the people we were dating and that was the night of our first kiss.
Was Helen’s mom a copy of Mrs. Kim or Amy invented the character just for the show?
Helen’s mom just turned 88! And she is the most meek, mild, sweet woman. Amy’s Mrs. Kim was entirely created by her.
Did you really read the Bible in one night to impress her mom or was another Amy’s creation?
I didn’t read the bible in one night. That story was close though. When I first met Helen’s parents I was grilled by her father on my religious beliefs. Helen and I did learn a song to play at a service with the family at Seventh-day Adventist nursing home.
What are the most memorable moments about your time during the show?
The best times for me were learning the songs with the actors in Hep Alien. Sebastian Bach is delightful to be around, and Jon [Cabrera], Todd [Lowe] and Keiko [Agena] could not be cooler people. We rehearsed a lot for a real Hep Alien concert at the ATX TV Festival in Austin, Texas in 2015. That was my all time favorite memory. The cheering fans was as close to The Beatles experience as I’ll ever get.
Dave Rygalski (R) on Gilmore Girls in the episode “Partings” (S6E22) with Brian Zydiak (L) e Daniel Palladino (M), as the fictional band The Thumbless Troubadours.
What are your impressions about the Dave Rygalski that Amy created?
Amy was wise in casting a very handsome, amiable actor, two traits I also possess! I wish he stuck around a little longer but The OC was calling.
When Adam left Gilmore Girls was you upset? Now he and Lane wouldn’t be together anymore just like you and Helen did in real life…
I wasn’t upset. I was glad for Adam’s success.
Do you and Helen play any instruments? What is your relationship with music?
Helen plays piano but not often and clarinet. We recorded a christmas song that I wrote like 20 years ago. I can’t sing so I just scream.
Do you also have a band just like on the show?
I have been in a couple bands. The last one was North Green (songs on Spotify). Helen was able to get a couple North Green songs on Gilmore Girls as background music in some scenes.
How do you imagine Lane’s plot in the revival if Dave and her were still together?
As a The White Stripes tribute band with a permanent gig in a Las Vegas casino.
Did you and Helen enjoy how things turned out for Lane or you also felt disappointed just like the fans?
Lane’s story was quite a ride! We were very happy to have her be a part of our lives.
About Helen and Lane’s personalities… What are the things they have in common?
The only things Helen and Lane have in common is that they are adorable, gorgeous, sweet-hearted, lovers of amazing music!
Send a message to the fans in Brazil.
It’s truly amazing that Gilmore Girls is such a fan favorite in Brazil! It makes the world seem like a small town. Maybe in Connecticut. I hope Gilmore Girls lives on through generations of Brazilian families like it has in the U.S. Cue Elvis Costello’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?“.