Category: Entertainment

May 18, 2018

The Tragedy and Comedy of Cobra Kai Episodes 1-4

Filed under: Entertainment - 18 May 2018

No, I have not binged all of Cobra Kai. I don’t actually binge. Not judging, just not my thing. I prefer serializing and experiencing a story an episode at a time over several days because once it’s gone, it’s gone.

So my thoughts on Episodes 1-4 of the Karate Kid sequel series. It’s better than it probably deserves to be. The idea of picking up the story of the Karate Kid more than thirty years after the movie sounds like a joke for a  creative community that seems to always going back to some old hat rather than producing anything new itself.

The genius of Cobra Kai is that it takes advantage of the fact that we’re already invested in these characters to go ahead and tell a story centered around them.

Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) is past fifty but is really stuck in the 1980s in so many ways. He drives the same car he had in High School (which is still a cool ride,) listens to 1980s music, watches 1980s movies, and has the same social attitudes he had as a teenager in the 1980s. In many ways, Johnny’s aggressive eightiesness is what makes the show funny.

Yet, it also makes Johnny tragic. He’s grown older but he hasn’t really grown up. Essentially, he’s a very old high school senior, with self-destructive behavior that hurts himself and others. He has a son he abandoned from the time he was born. The kid has gone wrong and Johnny wants to step in and set him straight, but it’s too late. Johnny’s kid and his mom have given up on him.