Daily Recco, July 14: Cobra Kai, karate and second chances
Riding on The Karate Kid's nostalgia factor, Cobra Kai has carved a niche of its own. A worthy Emmy nomination.
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When it burst through YouTube Red first in 2018, it was the nostalgia factor that drove the viewership for Cobra Kai. After all, The Karate Kid (1984) was the staple diet for kids growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, and as its sequel, Cobra Kai had to be given due respect. And it was. The first episode of the first season garnered over 60 million views.
However, it was not long before the sequel earned its own respect, viewership and fanfare with its brilliant exploration of the characters from the original series, who have now grown up. And today, Cobra Kai has been nominated under the Best Comedy Series for the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards
For the uninitiated, The Karate Kid was about bullying in schools. It was a movie that inspired a generation to take up karate coaching and taught us to stand up to the big bad boys. And Cobra Kai brought back two of the film’s main characters after a three-decade gap, picking up on the legendary rivalry between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence.
Decades after the All Valley Karate Tournament that changed their lives in The Karate Kid, the rivalry between Daniel and Johnny was reignited in Cobra Kai. The twist? Johnny is now on the right side. Call it a second chance to make things right or karma, but now the bully in the film is the one being bullied in the series by the one who was once the underdog.
It is not just the characters who have aged since The Karate Kid, but also their viewers. Gen X that was in their childhood/teens when The Karate Kid was released, is now watching Cobra Kai with their tech-savvy kids on OTT platforms. Talk about bridging the generation gap.
The makers — Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg — have very effectively tapped on balancing The Karate Kid’s nostalgia factor for Gen X with making Cobra Kai palatable to the Gen Z. Premiered originally on YouTube Red for the first and second seasons, the show moved to Netflix for its third season and has been renewed for a fourth season. A worthy nomination (we are keeping our fingers crossed for a win).