If you are a Cobra Kai fan, you will be happy to know that there’s a Facebook group dedicated to the evolving relationship between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence! If you aren’t a Cobrai Kai fan, read some of the below and see if it might be for you!
The success was so huge that the series is already confirmed to a 4th season. And now is streaming on Netflix.
The series is based on The Karate Kid film series, more specifically, the first movie of the franchise.
It is set 34 years after the original Karate Kid film and shows the narrative from Johnny Lawrence’s point of view rather than the original protagonist Daniel LaRusso.
The Karate Kid was theatrically released in the United States on June 22, 1984. The film received universal acclaim from critics, many of whom praised the action sequences, writing, storyline, acting performances, and music. The film was also a commercial success, grossing over $91 million worldwide, making it among the highest-grossing films of 1984.
34 years after his defeat in the 1984 All-Valley Karate Tournament, Johnny Lawrence, now in his 50s, works in construction and lives in an apartment in Reseda, Los Angeles, having fallen far from the wealthy lifestyle in Encino that had been enabled by his verbally abusive stepfather, Sid Weinberg.
He has a son, Robby Keene, with ex-girlfriend Shannon Keene, but he abandoned them both the day Robby was born after Johnny’s mother Laura died the same day. Johnny, self-admittedly, has never recovered from the breakup with his high school girlfriend, Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue).
Cobra Kai subverts the original ‘bullied overcoming bully’ storyline by making the original protagonist a quasi-antagonist and encouraging the viewer to root for the original ‘bad guy’.
The lion´s share of Cobra Kai’s popularity lies within its nostalgic tone; the series brings the audience the emotional feelings of stepping out of the 1980s and into the latter 2010s but instead of following Daniel’s story the series focuses on Johnny’s floundering life of borderline alcoholism and manual labor jobs. It also manages to keep the nostalgic feeling of the 1980s while the setting takes place in contemporary times.
The public had been convinced that Jonny Lawrence was the villain in the original movie, but Cobra Kai brings around his redemption, showing a desperate man, having just lost his job, divorced, with bills accumulating.
Cobra Kai uses several stereotypes to influence the viewer. There are ‘nerds’ that we want to see becoming ‘strong’ and rising above the social difficulties they experience at school. Then there are ‘bullies’ and ‘popular kids’ who we want to see the ‘nerds’ defeat.
What Cobra Kai does expertly is allow these ‘nerds’ to become ‘strong’, to become ‘popular’; to achieve what we want them to, what we feel they deserve, then the series turns these newly actualized characters into the ‘bullies’ themselves, effectively encouraging us to now root against them.
It takes older generations back to fondly remembered times. The series manages to introduce new, younger viewers to the same ever-present problems that young people have always had. The fact that the TV show ties into something older than them gives it an extra ‘it’ factor and promotes first time viewing of the original movie.
Even though Cobra Kai is the ‘bad boys’, they are made up of ‘nerds’ and ‘losers’ so we support them.
Johnny Lawrence is trying to use Cobra Kai to make himself a better man, and he even begins to adopt some of the teachings from Miyagi (Pat Morita) style as the series progresses. He finds strength in compassion and becomes more and more disillusioned with the slogan of ‘Strike first, strike hard, no mercy’.
Johnny begins to see how important compassion and mercy really are, even when his environment pushes him back, even when he falters or makes a wrong decision, we always see him return to center and start again, try, and do the right thing again.
Cobra Kai took on board feedback from viewers of the original movie who had felt that perhaps Daniel LaRusso had been the real antagonist all along, an idea popularized by the Sitcom ‘How I Met Your Mother’.
The producers managed to create a series that revolved around this pro Johnny Lawrence argument giving old viewers a fresh reason to watch.
It also introduces new teenaged characters with similar problems to the original characters (relationships, identity, responsibility etc.) thereby garnering the popularity of contemporary viewers who would be the same age as target audiences were in 1984.
Part of Cobra Kai’s success is that it has two generations of principal demographics rather than single young adult demographic of the original.
If you are one of the many fans of Cobra Kai and the Karate Kid and would like to be informed on everything from new release dates, trailers or just want to meet and chat with other fans of the series, join the Facebook group (Cobra Kai – Welcome to the dojo) and become part of the family!