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The Biggest Issue Some Fans Have With Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai may be a follow-up to The Karate Kid film series, but there are a lot of ways in which the show and those movies are extremely different. The most obvious difference is the now-nuanced relationship between Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka).

In The Karate Kid, there are clearly-intended heroes and villains. Daniel and Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) are the good guys, while Johnny, John Kreese (Martin Kove), and Cobra Kai are the bad guys. Johnny is the bully. Daniel is the bullied.

Cobra Kai, by comparison, occupies a grey area. At the beginning of the series, Johnny Lawrence has a rough life: He drinks too much, he's estranged from his son, and he doesn't have a lot of job prospects. Daniel LaRusso is happily married, owns a car dealership, and has a great relationship with his kids. Over the course of two seasons, though, we've seen Daniel bully Johnny, we've seen Johnny's irresponsibility harm others, and we've seen both Cobra Kai and Miaygi-Do Karate both help and hinder the community.

Interestingly, the complications that come out of this nuance on Cobra Kai is part of why some fans are getting frustrated with the series.

Daniel and Johnny can't communicate on Cobra Kai

Generally speaking, most people watching Cobra Kai adore it. As of this writing, the series has a 94% tomatometer rating and a 93% average audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

But into every life a little rain must fall. Daniel LaRusso is in trouble with his wife, Johnny Lawrence lost his dojo, and Cobra Kai received one specific complaint, even from people who otherwise love the show: Why can't these grown adults just sit down and talk?

Reddit user InfiniteAccuracy says about Cobra Kai that, "season 2 is just about the escalating rivalry. Daniel has a perfect life he is about to throw away because he is too busy being a little #$%@ about Cobra Kai." As a specific example, the user cites how Daniel reacts to Sam (Mary Mouser) being seriously injured by saying "his daughter almost died and his thought is 'Don't worry babe, Cobra Kai is gonna pay for this.'"

That assessment of Daniel's behavior is very accurate. Reddit user Beahyt summed it up by saying, "my biggest issue with this series is that almost every conflict is caused by miscommunication. The majority of the characters can and have gotten along when they sit down and talk, but then one thing happens and they're all at each other's throats."

Absolutely no one can communicate on Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai watchers are quick to point out that it isn't only the adults on the show who seem to have a hard time thinking before they act. Reddit user Evol-Dragon points out that "pretty much all the conflict [could] be resolved if they talked to each other." Evol-Dragon gives specific examples such as how, "if Robby (Tanner Buchanan) talked to Johnny after seeing him with Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) instead of going straight to revenge, he probably would have moved in with Johnny and start to repair their relationship."

It's true — Robby jumps to rage very quickly. It's probably worth mentioning, however, that teenagers (and adults) aren't always governed by reason when complex family histories are involved. Johnny hasn't been a present father for Robby, so what reason does Robby have to give him the benefit of the doubt?

Evol-Dragon also talks about the breakup between Sam and Miguel, saying, "if the two had an honest talk about their feelings instead of talking to Johnny (Miguel) and Robby (Sam) then the two of them may not have broken up."

Again, that is very true, but, for the record, quietly count in your head how many relationships you blew up as a teenager because you were too proud or scared to be honest. Is the number one or more? Congratulations, you know that teenagers are usually bad at dating!

Okay, one person on Cobra Kai can communicate

There is one character a lot of even Cobra Kai's most serious critics seem to be rooting for: Daniel's wife, Amanda LaRusso (Courtney Henggeler). Says Reddit user CraftingOutLoud, "Amanda (Daniel's wife) is a hero of the show to me because she always gets them to TALK. She is so calm and rational and diplomatic."

Amanda is the reason Daniel and Johnny share a dinner in season 1, she is the reason they hash out some of their history, and she even convinces Daniel to hook Johnny up with a new (used) car! Whether or not that makes Amanda a hero is up for debate, but she certainly isn't out of line when she demands that Daniel bring an end to Miyagi-Do Karate at the end of Cobra Kai Season 2.

Miscommunication is a common problem in TV dramas. Almost every TV show in the history of the medium has some story that revolves around one person seeing something and misunderstanding what they saw, and the moment setting off an antagonistic relationship.

Conflict is at the heart of narrative. The question for Cobra Kai fans is whether or not the inability for adults and teenagers alike to sit down and talk makes sense within the confines of the story being told.

We'll see where the conflict goes next with Cobra Kai returns for its third season in 2021.