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Why Cobra Kai's 2021 Emmy Nomination Is More Important Than You Think

The nominations for 2021's Emmy Awards this September have been announced, with shows like "WandaVision," "The Crown," "The Mandalorian," and "The Handmaid's Tale" dominating the list with more than 20 nominations. But for those scouring the nominations lists to find out what shows the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences find worthy this year, there's a slightly surprising entry in the Outstanding Comedy Series category: "Cobra Kai."

"Cobra Kai" is going up against some stiff competition at the Emmys this year: The other shows nominated in the category are "Black-ish," "Emily in Paris," "Hacks," "The Flight Attendant," "The Kominsky Method," "PEN15," and "Ted Lasso." The fact that "Cobra Kai" is numbered among such esteemed series is meaningful for the once-canceled show, and results from what some have called "The Netflix effect." The first two seasons of "Cobra Kai" flew under the radar in 2018 and 2019 when it was a mere YouTube Red series. It seemed dead in the water, before getting picked up by Netflix for its third season (via GoldDerby). 

The series is a direct sequel to "The Karate Kid" movies from the 1980s, and for fans both new and old, this kind of mainstream acknowledgment within the industry is long overdue.

This is the first year Cobra Kai has been nominated for a non-technical award

That's because, before Netflix raised its profile, "Cobra Kai" received only two Emmy nominations in previous years. In 2018 and 2019, it received nods for Outstanding Stunt Coordination in a Comedy Series or Variety Program in its first and second seasons, but didn't win either time. Now, in 2021, it's up for four separate awards for its third season, including Best Comedy Series. Yes, one of those other noms involves stunts yet again — it's been nominated for Outstanding Stunt Performance — but it will also be a contender in the categories Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour). These three nominations all derive from the episode entitled "December 19."

Those previous nominations, and the three technical ones from this year, are often considered "below the line" awards. As such, they're a bit less interesting to many fans, who may not understand exactly what goes into the work behind the scenes. The Best Comedy Series nod is a more visible category with general appeal. This may be why Ralph Macchio has shown his excitement about the announcement over Twitter, saying, "Amazing company! HUGE Congrats to the talented @CobraKaiSeries family!" 

It should be noted that, in past years, he's been just as vocal in his support of the stunt coordinators who were nominated for Emmys, all of whom do vital and amazing work. One of them, Jahnel Curfman, told heavy. that Macchio was the one who broke the news to him about the 2019 nomination. Four nominations doesn't match this year's leaders of the Emmy pack, but it certainly gives "Cobra Kai" a better chance at winning something this year than it had in seasons past. 

Hopefully, this will be the show's year.