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Why Robby From Cobra Kai Looks So Familiar

The popularity of "Cobra Kai" is easy to understand. Not only does it give longtime fans of the "Karate Kid" movies –- particularly those of us who grew up on them -– a chance to revisit a character that very easily won us over in the form of an older Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) taking stock of his life, it also shows us an entirely different, humbled and conflicted side to his old rival Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka).

But of course, none of this would be possible without the new generation of students and proteges, with their own troubles and anger colliding with those of our older heroes. Among these is Robby Keene. Played by Tanner Buchanan, the estranged son of Johnny Lawrence has truly been put through the wringer, bouncing from sensei to sensei and even doing time in juvenile detention after landing his rival Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) in the hospital.

Robby's own arc is one of several that make "Cobra Kai" an engaging watch. He has proven to be a fan favorite, even if the number of times he should have been arrested beggars belief. And while Robby is something of a breakout role for Buchanan, the fact is that he's already racked up an impressive resume.

Tanner Buchanan played Charlie Gardner in Girl Meets World

True, for most of "Cobra Kai," he has played a high-schooler, but in real life, Tanner Buchanan is already in his early twenties. As a child actor, his first television role was a bit part on "Modern Family" at the age of twelve. He also played small parts in episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" and "The Goldbergs."

In 2015, Buchanan appeared in three episodes during the second season of "Girl Meets World" as Charlie Gardner, the shy-but-romantic eighth grader attempting to woo Riley Matthews (Rowan Blanchard), even as Riley grapples with her own feelings for Lucas (Peyton Meyer). This isn't the only potential love triangle brewing over the course of these episodes, as Riley's best friend Maya (Sabrina Carpenter) has also developed feelings for Lucas. The whole saga became quite tangled. So much so that The Wrap put out a "who's with who" guide for viewers to help navigate the episodes. Though Riley ends up turning him down, Charlie seems to take it in stride and even ends up bonding with Riley's younger brother Auggie (August Maturo). 

He played Jack Downey in The Fosters and Chad Brad Bradley on Fuller House

Tanner Buchanan's appearance on "The Fosters" in 2016 took him into far more dramatic fare. Again appearing for six episodes, Buchanan played Jack Downey, a sensitive foster kid who, during the third season, befriends the adopted Jude (Hayden Byerly) and Callie (Maia Mitchell).

Though aimed primarily at a teenage and young adult audience, "The Fosters" was praised for its mature and sensitive approach to a wide range of issues such as sexual identity, child abuse, and racism, with Vulture's Maggie Fremont insisting that adults would do well to watch it too. One shocking example was in Buchanan's character Jack, who, late in Season 3, is shockingly found by Jude and Callie's adoptive mother Stef (Teri Polo) beaten to death by his own foster father.

In 2017, Buchanan was back doing comedy when he was cast in two episodes of "Fuller House" as the egotistical and thoughtless dance team captain Chad Brad Bradley. Though his appearance in Season 3 was brief, it was certainly memorable, as he almost ruins the Homecoming dance that Ramona (Soni Bringas) put so much work into.

He played Leo Kirkman in Designated Survivor

Tanner Buchanan's first main role in TV series came in 2016 when he was cast in ABC's "Designated Survivor." Buchanan played Leo Kirkman, son of Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland), who follows his father and the rest of his family into the White House when Tom is surprisingly sworn in as President of the United States following a terror attack that kills everyone else in the line of succession.

Throughout most of his time on the series, Leo's primary concern is taking care of his younger sister Penny (McKenna Grace) as his family adjusts to their new lives. From the outset, he promises to cause trouble. The very first time we meet Leo, he is lying to his parents about where he'll be for the evening. "After the attack on Washington, D.C.," wrote Terry Terrones in his review at The Gazette, "Leo can't be found. When the Secret Service tracks him down, he's selling drugs at a rave."

Ultimately, though, Leo gets his act together, eventually heading to Stanford for college. Though he was part of the main cast for the show's first season, he was recurring in Season 2 of "Designated Survivor" and did not appear in the third season.