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Thread: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

  1. #1
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Call me Ishmael
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    Default Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    QUIET!

    HAI!

    * RULE #1: You will not ignore or fail to critique Cobra Kai any longer in this dojo (TWC).

    * RULE #2: You will not fail to watch at least the first three Karate Kid films before daring to comment on the show in this dojo.

    * RULE #3: And you do not make fart noises with your armpits in this dojo (menacing glance at you, Akar).

    Some of you might have gathered by now that I enjoy both serious cinema and also at times the cheesy gratuitous fan service stuff. Cobra Kai definitely falls into the latter camp, but, come on! It's so well written! It's perhaps the most well written show with an incredibly stupid meathead premise!

    Legendary rock star Dee Snider even makes a guest appearance in one episode, just to complete the washed up 80s dude atmosphere of the show.

    Here's a trailer for season 4, the latest one released on New Year's Eve 2021, to give those who haven't seen the show a little taste of what it's about:



    SPOILERS AHEAD, STOP READING NOW IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED EVERYTHING UP TO DATE YET.

    Some of the tropes get a little tiresome by the end of season 3 let alone 4, including the constant falling out and reconciliations of the main characters Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso, but these are at least based on more than just their grating personalities. Their different philosophies and teaching methods as middle aged karate teachers of rival dojos are diametrically opposed and nearly incompatible, and neither of them are willing to drop their ego and fully learn from each other. An attempt is made by these two in this season to combine both fighting styles (overtly offensive versus mainly defensive tactics), but their true enemies at the Cobra Kai dojo are also mastering both styles and fighting techniques. They only find common ground in their hatred, distrust and rivalry with John Kreese, the elderly Vietnam Veteran who was Johnny's merciless, scheming sensei back in the 1980s. Kreese gains a powerful ally this season in drafting his former veteran friend, business associate, and subtle sociopath Terry Silver from the Katate Kid III film to rejoin the dojo and help him win the All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament against Lawrence and LaRusso.

    The characters are extremely likeable, even the villains who are at times deliciously evil in a somewhat tame CW network kind of way. There are a few attempted murders, though, so the show isn't just puppies, rainbows and sunshine. The most obvious themes explored by the show are the consequences of bullying, the futility of holding outdated grudges, the failures, successes, trials and tribulations of parenting, and of course giving purpose to one's life by being a mentor to others. On top of that, there's also a lot of people who get kicked in the face and punched in the balls.

    Also, whether you like the show or not, you'd probably still admit the musical score is fantastic, so kudos to composers Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson. It's the perfect cheesy 80s heavy metal and/or hard rock medley. They also tend to play the perfect 80s rock and metal songs whenever Lawrence is doing something more dangerous, stupid or funny than usual. For instance, Motley Crue's "Kickstart My Heart" during a car chase scene before him and LaRusso beat the crap out of a bunch of biker dudes in an auto chop shop.

    The show is dumb but fun, light entertainment with easily digestible 25-30 minute episodes, so it's easy to binge an entire season in a week or less. If you don't like the show that's fine, there are plenty of reasons to criticize it. However, in doing so, you are forever marking yourself as a whiner, a weakling, and a wiener. So be forewarned.

  2. #2
    John Doe's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    The show is dumb but fun
    Lawrence is dumb and he makes the show on his own, S1 and S2 are greatly enjoyable, but as he loses screen time in S3 and has a bare minimum in S4 the show is just dumb lately.

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    ggggtotalwarrior's Avatar hey it geg
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    I haven’t watched it but it really is incredible to know a Karate Kid sequel streaming series that originated on ing YouTube of all places like 30 years after the last movie somehow managed to not only get solid reviews but also survive for 4 seasons.
    Rep me and I'll rep you back.

    UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF THE KING POSTER AKAR

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    Halie Satanus's Avatar Emperor of ice cream
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Never liked Daniel, such a whiny little prick.

    The show even gives a nod to the 'Daniel was the real bully' theory, someone calls it out in one of the episodes. Kind of agree with JD' the first two series were clever in the way they dropped references to the 80s in, which was all about Johnny. I didn't even mind the teen drama, as it kept the show moving, though the constant changing of sides gets a bit confusing. Kind of hope the next season is the last, and they go all in with the 80s cheese, definitely need some more Poison/Warrant/LA. Guns etc etc....

  5. #5
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Call me Ishmael
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Quote Originally Posted by ggggtotalwarrior View Post
    I haven’t watched it but it really is incredible to know a Karate Kid sequel streaming series that originated on ing YouTube of all places like 30 years after the last movie somehow managed to not only get solid reviews but also survive for 4 seasons.
    The show definitely has staying power and seriously great qualities, despite having some moments that feel like a 90s high school teen soap opera. Still a better romance than Twilight, though! The show is also just satisfying and humorous, with some clever narratives but without taking itself too seriously. William Zabka who plays Lawrence is endlessly entertaining with all his gnarly 80s metalhead dude bro dumb one-liners, that and the fact that he's largely stuck in a time capsule and doesn't understand modern technology without the help of his closest student Miguel. LOL. The character of John Kreese played by Martin Kove is also one of the best scheming villains on screen, with the composers emphasizing his presence in each of his scenes with fittingly ominous music.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Doe View Post
    Lawrence is dumb and he makes the show on his own, S1 and S2 are greatly enjoyable, but as he loses screen time in S3 and has a bare minimum in S4 the show is just dumb lately.
    Lawrence loses a bit of screen time so other characters can be fleshed out, but at least one of those characters is a worthy one in that regard: Terry Silver.

    That guy is a psychotic menace! He is somehow just as intimidating on screen now as he was over 30 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Halie Satanus View Post
    Never liked Daniel, such a whiny little prick.

    The show even gives a nod to the 'Daniel was the real bully' theory, someone calls it out in one of the episodes. Kind of agree with JD' the first two series were clever in the way they dropped references to the 80s in, which was all about Johnny. I didn't even mind the teen drama, as it kept the show moving, though the constant changing of sides gets a bit confusing. Kind of hope the next season is the last, and they go all in with the 80s cheese, definitely need some more Poison/Warrant/LA. Guns etc etc....
    Yep, interesting how the show tries to bring balance and show both sides rather than repeat the biases of the original film trilogy that Daniel is just a victim and Johnny is just a bully (whether misguided or not).

  6. #6

    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Love this series. Sir Halie recommendation never fails me. Have to see Season 3/4. Binged both seasons 1-2 in one go. Nostalgia overload!

  7. #7
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Call me Ishmael
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Quote Originally Posted by Ishan View Post
    Love this series. Sir Halie recommendation never fails me. Have to see Season 3/4. Binged both seasons 1-2 in one go. Nostalgia overload!
    I did the same thing when I first discovered the show and season 3 was just about to air. I watched the first two seasons within a span of two days. It got me super pumped to watch season 3. The characters definitely evolve a lot and switch allegiances quite a bit, so there's always an element of surprise. However, massive hints are dropped along the way for some of these character changes. In regards to Terry Silver's character who appears in season 4, major hints about his ulterior motives are hidden like Easter eggs, including a literary reference to a 17th century tome on political philosophy (material that is a little highbrow for the general audience, especially for this show). When you're done watching season 4, definitely go on Youtube and watch a rundown video that explains that.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Yeah this series is great i have been watching it since the beginning. Its hard to believe that there is actually a decent show being made, in the context of the industry today.

    Something good for a change.

  9. #9
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Call me Ishmael
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Quote Originally Posted by Knight of Heaven View Post
    Yeah this series is great i have been watching it since the beginning. Its hard to believe that there is actually a decent show being made, in the context of the industry today.

    Something good for a change.
    Cobra Kai is fantastic, I agree, but it is very cheesy. I simply choose to look past the cheesiness inherent in the show to enjoy all its better qualities. Most of the time I don't even mind the 80s cheese! Especially since old school heavy metal and 80s hair metal is perfect for Lawrence. Shout out to Stingray for dropping that Exodus reference!

    That being said, there are plenty of recent TV series with obviously much better writing, narratives, and character development, but they belong to entirely different genres with far more sober content, so it is unfair to compare them. Apples and oranges, I say! For instance, the numerous PBS Masterpiece and BBC mystery and crime drama shows like Endeavor and Foley's War obviously provide more depth, gravitas, and overall greater cinema than a silly show like Cobra Kai (at least as far as critics are concerned).

    They're just not as fun and cool as Cobra Kai, though, a show that kicks their asses so bad it makes all the others themselves.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Cobra Kai is fantastic, I agree, but it is very cheesy. I simply choose to look past the cheesiness inherent in the show to enjoy all its better qualities
    It works because its cheesy not despite of it. It plays with it, and its fun because of it. And its a given you accept that there is karaté fights breaking off at all time in several places, despite being preposterous, and that works because it has that level of cheesiness.

    It works because they make it fun, while at the same time having heart. Its one of those cases, where a show doesn't have any business to be this good with their writing, but it has. Because the people behind it, love the source material, and the legacy of the property. It isn't simply a pay check, or a platform for any social political agenda, as its so often the case nowadays.

    The weakest part is usually the teen drama, buti think they made it better in season 4 regarding this.
    Last edited by Knight of Heaven; January 26, 2022 at 12:34 PM.

  11. #11
    Halie Satanus's Avatar Emperor of ice cream
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    I think the teen side is okay. Resolving differences by beating the crap out of each other using Karate, all good, wholesome entertainment.

  12. #12
    Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar 大信皇帝
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Haven't seen the latest season 4.

    Season 1 was great. Season 2 seems not as good. Season 3 seems really not as good. Afraid for Season 4.

    I think the reason that Season 1 worked was cause it was a well thought out subversion of the original film, with Johnny as the focus. Once you start to focus on Daniel or some teenage kids the show kind of loses its angle. Plus teen drama is always bad.

    All the episodes that I liked from Season 2 and Season 3 had a strong focus on Johnny in some way. Be it his personal life or his relationship with someone else. But then they subvert the subversion by presenting it from the perspectives of other characters. Which is too complicated and kind of loses its original point.

    "Famous general without peer in any age, most superior in valor and inspired by the Way of Heaven; since the provinces are now subject to your will it is certain that you will increasingly mount in victory." - Ōgimachi-tennō

  13. #13
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Call me Ishmael
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Oda Nobunaga View Post
    Haven't seen the latest season 4.

    Season 1 was great. Season 2 seems not as good. Season 3 seems really not as good. Afraid for Season 4.

    I think the reason that Season 1 worked was cause it was a well thought out subversion of the original film, with Johnny as the focus. Once you start to focus on Daniel or some teenage kids the show kind of loses its angle. Plus teen drama is always bad.

    All the episodes that I liked from Season 2 and Season 3 had a strong focus on Johnny in some way. Be it his personal life or his relationship with someone else. But then they subvert the subversion by presenting it from the perspectives of other characters. Which is too complicated and kind of loses its original point.
    Quote Originally Posted by Knight of Heaven View Post
    It works because its cheesy not despite of it. It plays with it, and its fun because of it. And its a given you accept that there is karaté fights breaking off at all time in several places, despite being preposterous, and that works because it has that level of cheesiness.

    It works because they make it fun, while at the same time having heart. Its one of those cases, where a show doesn't have any business to be this good with their writing, but it has. Because the people behind it, love the source material, and the legacy of the property. It isn't simply a pay check, or a platform for any social political agenda, as its so often the case nowadays.

    The weakest part is usually the teen drama, buti think they made it better in season 4 regarding this.
    Some great analysis all around from the two of you! The sort of analysis and discussion I was hoping to stir, so +1 rep to you both. Johnny's character is the funniest and most fun element in the series but his competing narrative and POV set against LaRusso's established view is the raison d'etre for the entire show. You guys are right, when it strays from that too often the show loses its balance and its aim. That being said, season 4 dives further into the past lives of John Kreese, the nemesis of Johnny and LaRusso. Their antagonism is another vehicle driving the show forward, with the teen drama stuff as growingly annoying window dressing around its edges.

    Also, while the teen drama stuff is sometimes annoying, I did like the Miguel arc of recovering from his temporary paralysis, especially since it involved Dee Snider and Twisted Sister, plus Johnny using hilarious tactics like lighting him on fire to get him to move.

    SPOILER: the end of season 4 also provides us with a greater reasoning for bringing back Chozen Toguchi (played by Yuji Okumoto), to take down Terry Silver now that LaRusso has been metaphorically handicapped by the agreement to shut down his own dojo.

  14. #14
    ggggtotalwarrior's Avatar hey it geg
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Dee Snider is always a positive in my book. Guy is surprisingly not a bad actor, especially when he knows how cheesy the project is. Also, he actually lives like 10 minutes from where I'm from so I've heard some cool stories about him in addition to all the great stuff he has done publicly.
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    Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar 大信皇帝
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    In season 3 the episode where Johnny is trying to get Miguel to walk was one of the best episodes. Also the episode where Daniel goes to Japan, and episodes involving John Kreese.

    "Famous general without peer in any age, most superior in valor and inspired by the Way of Heaven; since the provinces are now subject to your will it is certain that you will increasingly mount in victory." - Ōgimachi-tennō

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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Call me Ishmael
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Quote Originally Posted by ggggtotalwarrior View Post
    Dee Snider is always a positive in my book. Guy is surprisingly not a bad actor, especially when he knows how cheesy the project is. Also, he actually lives like 10 minutes from where I'm from so I've heard some cool stories about him in addition to all the great stuff he has done publicly.
    Gnarly! I'm certainly jealous. Also yes, the guy knows how to act, probably from possessing a natural stage persona as a rock star.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Oda Nobunaga View Post
    In season 3 the episode where Johnny is trying to get Miguel to walk was one of the best episodes. Also the episode where Daniel goes to Japan, and episodes involving John Kreese.
    In that case season 4 will be a mixed bag for you, because while it has the teen drama stuff, even that tends to swirl around the main focus on John Kreese bringing back Terry Silver and what that means for their dojo's future. The season is peppered with flashbacks of John Kreese as a civilian and then active duty US service member in the Vietnam War alongside his buddy Terry Silver. They become POWs of the North Vietnamese and some serious stuff goes down. I think you'd like it.

  17. #17
    Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar 大信皇帝
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    My issue is... who the hell is Terry Silver?

    Okay I know who Terry Silver is vaguely, but I never saw Karate Kid 3. For the longest time I didn't even know that it existed. But I do remember "The Next Karate Kid" with Hillary Swank. I wonder if she will make a cameo appearance.

    "Famous general without peer in any age, most superior in valor and inspired by the Way of Heaven; since the provinces are now subject to your will it is certain that you will increasingly mount in victory." - Ōgimachi-tennō

  18. #18

    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Terry Silver is much more interesting in Cobra kai then in that terrible movie to be honest.

  19. #19
    Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar 大信皇帝
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Okay I started Cobra Kai season 4. On the second episode so far.

    Obviously not too far in but I'll comment on it anyway.

    Terry Silvers: I have no idea who this is but if it didn't work the first time why should it work now? I am hesitant to have so many characters on this show.

    "New Kid": Way too many characters already. Did we need another kid who was getting bullied? As if this already hasn't been done a dozen times in this same show. On top of that they added a bunch of other unnecessary kids with "New Kid". We already have too many characters.


    What I predict will happen so far:
    -Terry Silvers will either be the voice of reason for Kreese or he will become more psychotic than Kreese.

    -Kreese will try to change Johnny's son but he will probably resist it.

    -Because he can't turn the kid against his father he will trick Johnny into turning him against the kid. Then try to use that to convince the kid (I forget his name, was it Bobby? Robby?). Probably Kreese might even try to use the kid as a bargaining chip.

    -Daniel's wife will try to make amends with that crazy girl but it will come back to bite her.

    If I am right then this is way too predictable. Definitely not a good thing.

    "Famous general without peer in any age, most superior in valor and inspired by the Way of Heaven; since the provinces are now subject to your will it is certain that you will increasingly mount in victory." - Ōgimachi-tennō

  20. #20
    Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar 大信皇帝
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    Default Re: Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-4

    Yeah most of what I predicted did happen but the execution was competent enough.

    That Terry Silver guy is smart, reasonable, and completely off his rocker. I actually had sympathy for Kreese. I think that Kreese was always a very limited villain because he just had one gear and couldn't even beat Miyagi in a fight. Terry Silver could outsmart any character I assume. But they also give him the added layer of complexity that he is loyal and subservient to Kreese.

    New Kid could have been done better but he didn't take up as much time as I thought. Still could have done without as much New Kid and Lepusso (who for some reason reminds me of Antony Soprano Jr). Still I genuinely felt bad for New Kid and thought Lepusso deserved it. Kind of hard to do the same arc with yet another set of characters though.

    The tournament arc automatically elevates this. Overall it was decent and threw in a lot of curve balls. They put a lot of the show back on track and was done better than season 2 and 3. The high school drama was equal to or less than the Johnny Lawrence plot. I think even Daniel kind of seemed like he was back to being number 2 behind Johnny. Which is good.

    Interested, somewhat excited even, to see what is going to happen in Season 5. Here's hoping that this show doesn't exhaust itself. I know I was joking about Hillary Swank making a cameo but that would actually be kind of cool. Does Daniel think he is the only Miyagi kid? Although no one cares about "The Next Karate Kid" they should just make it good in Cobra Kai.

    The particular reverence that they give to Mr. Miyagi is interesting. Glad that they aren't destroying his legacy like other franchises tend to do with their previous characters. But the reality is that Miyagi was a broken man. He lost his family, he lived alone and was neglected, he lived in a rundown house and clearly struggled to make ends meet, and worst of all he was considered a traitor.

    Pat Morita was definitely channeling a lot into his character. Specifically that Miyagi was basically an alcoholic off screen and completely broken. If not for his laid back attitude, willpower, and acceptance of things he might have wanted to die. This is very much true for Pat Morita himself. Who was a severely traumatized alcoholic and I think that it might have killed him. I very much like the idea that Kreese is basically the dark Miyagi. But when will he learn to let things go?

    Season 4 does a good job in deconstructing Cobra Kai. Which itself was a deconstruction and subversion of Karate Kid. There are parallels between characters. There is no particular character who is purely evil. Even Terry Silver isn't really to blame so much as he has incredible amounts of PTSD and probably a drug dependency. As well as some inferiority complex which leads him to compensate through his rich man ambition. Some of his scenes legitimately make him seem like an absolute schizophrenic.

    While I do enjoy it when hero tropes are subverted and there are full time anti-heroes. It seems like Daniel became an even bigger Gary Stu in Season 3. Here Johnny didn't do much himself but the plot seemed to mostly focus on his character. Johnny gets his due and it is good to know that there is an even stronger character than Daniel.

    That is to say that during his brief appearance it seems to be the case that Sado is on an entirely different level than Daniel. Sado perfectly compliments Daniel's Miyagi-Do but not in the upsetting way that Johnny was demonstrated to do. So I can only assume that Daniel and Sado form a perfect half and Johnny inevitably going to join Kreese at Cobra Kai. Both Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do sort of being like the Yin-Yang type metaphor that this entire season has been alluding to.

    "Famous general without peer in any age, most superior in valor and inspired by the Way of Heaven; since the provinces are now subject to your will it is certain that you will increasingly mount in victory." - Ōgimachi-tennō

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