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Why Is Cobra Kai So Good?

BY Shannon Entin

Published 4 years ago

Why Is Cobra Kai So Good?

On today’s podcast we’re talking about Cobra Kai, the You Tube Premium-turned-Netflix series that had everyone buzzing this summer! Strike First. Strike Hard. No Mercy!

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The synopsis for Cobra Kai reads: Decades after their 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament bout, a middle-aged Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence find themselves martial-arts rivals again. 

You might be thinking – as we were – “meh.” The Karate Kid was a good movie, but can it really hold up to a retelling some 30 years later? But the more we heard about this series, the more intrigued we were. Everyone was talking about it. And loving it. So we had to watch.

Cobra Kai premiered on YouTube Red (aka You Tube Premium) in 2018, followed by a second season in 2019. It was an instant hit among the limited number of people it reached on the You Tube streaming service. Then Netflix acquired the rights to Cobra Kai – and we thank you, Netflix, for bringing this show to the masses! Cobra Kai proceeded to blow up Netflix during the summer of 2020 – it feels like everyone was watching it.

We found a big Cobra Kai fan in our TV and Movie Discussion with Stinger Facebook group – and she joins us today on the podcast!

Alanna McGinn is Founder and Certified Sleep Expert of Good Night Sleep Site, a global sleep consulting practice. She is host of the ‘This Girl Loves Sleep’ Podcast and while sleep health is her 9 to 5, pop culture, TV and movies are her everything else. Recently her two worlds collided when she hosted a sleep webinar for Warner Bros Pictures! She loves anything with a nostalgic twist, blood and gore, and throw in a love triangle, vampire or Viking, and she’s all in. You can follow her at @GNSleepSite.

Alanna McGinn

Cobra Kai is really Johnny Lawrence’s story. We learn that he hasn’t been very successful in life and is still bitter over his All-Valley Tournament loss against Daniel. But an encounter with a teenage boy that lives next door helps Johnny see that he could be a great sensei. He decides to re-open the Cobra Kai dojo and do things differently (at least a little) than his harsh sensei, Kreese, did in the past.

Cobra Kai Cast

We start our discussion with an overview of the cast.

  • JOHNNY LAWRENCE (William “Billy” Zabka) – Cobra Kai’s star student from the original movie. Now a loser who has never moved out of the 80s.
  • DANIEL LARUSSO (Ralph Macchio) – Mr. Miyagi’s protégée from the original movie. Now the successful owner of a luxury car dealership. Married with two kids.
  • MIGUEL DIAZ (Xolo Mariduena) – the kid next door who needs to learn how to fight. Falls in love with Samantha.
  • SAMANTHA LARUSSO (Mary Mouser) – Daniel’s daughter. She tries to be the popular girl, but ultimately rekindles her interest in karate. Falls for Miguel, but then turns to Robby.
  • ROBBY KEENE (Tanner Buchanan) – Johnny’s delinquent son. He ends up being mentored and taught karate by Daniel. Also falls for Samantha.
  • JOHN KREESE (Martin Kove) – the big bad guy from the original movie. Has had a tough life and tries to take over Cobra Kai again when he learns Johnny has reopened the dojo.
  • Supporting Characters: Eli/Hawk (bullied friend of Miguel/becomes the bully); Demetri (friend of Eli, reluctant to learn karate); Tory (underprivileged girl who joins Cobra Kai – played by Petyon List from Disney’s “Jessie” and “Bunk’d”); Alisha (long-time friend of Sam’s but a rift has formed between them).

What Do You Need To Know From the Karate Kid Movies?

We think it’s pretty important to have seen at least the original Karate Kid movie before Cobra Kai. But this series does an excellent job of sprinkling in flashbacks to the movie to get you up to speed.

The Karate Kid (1984): A martial arts master agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager. Fun Fact: Pat Morita was 52 when he first played Mr. Miyagi. When Cobra Kai began filming Billy Zabka was 52 and Ralph Macchio was 56.

The Karate Kid 2 (1986): Daniel accompanies his mentor, Mr. Miyagi, to Miyagi’s childhood home in Okinawa. Miyagi visits his dying father and confronts his old rival, while Daniel falls in love and inadvertently makes a new rival of his own.

The Karate Kid 3 (1989): Ostracized villain John Kreese attempts to gain revenge on Daniel and Miyagi, with the help of a Vietnam War comrade, the wealthy owner of a toxic waste disposal business.

The Karate Kid (2010 remake): Work causes a single mother to move to China with her young son; in his new home, the boy embraces kung fu, taught to him by a master.

Why is Cobra Kai So Good?

We discuss all the reasons we love Cobra Kai – the 80s vibe, the nostalgia, the music, the awesome cars, the inappropriate – yet real – language! But what really makes the show are the characters. We agree that they are real and complex. There isn’t a traditional “bad guy” or “good guy.” Every character (and each dojo) has flaws, as well as strengths.

Cobra Kai, while a drama, also doesn’t take itself too seriously, so the vibe is lighter and even comedic at times. This brings a wonderful balance to the show.

What Do We Predict For Cobra Kai Season 3?

We were thrilled to find out that Netflix had already filmed a season 3 for Cobra Kai, and that it will be released in January 2021!

We all feel like the show is setting up a Daniel/Johnny team-up to fight against Kreese. But we don’t think it will come easily!

The internet is also abuzz with rumors of Elizabeth Shue making an appearance. She played Ally in the original movie – the girl Daniel and Johnny fought over. Miguel’s injuries might require a “pediatric surgeon” – which could turn out to be Ally. And we felt like they were putting some wrinkles in Daniel’s marriage just in case.

What do you want to see in Cobra Kai season 3?

Please contact us with your feedback, questions, and comments! We’re @StingerPodcast everywhere.

NCIS L.A. Season 12