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Why Cobra Kai Fans Are Frustrated With The Show's Fandom

While fans love the Netflix series "Cobra Kai," there's also plenty to complain about. Whether it's the constant, seemingly 24-hour karate classes that take place, or the ridiculously toxic attitudes of its hyper-masculine teachers (and some students), or the absurdity and outrageousness that is John Kreese, there's plenty to nitpick online. So who would have thought that some on Reddit have a problem with the show's ... fanbase?

That's right, there's a thread on Reddit dedicated to this frustration — not with the many aspects of the show that are fun, interesting, or exasperating to its fans, but with the response of some of the fans themselves. The series, a modern revamping of the classic "Karate Kid" movies, has received both critical and audience praise since its 2018 debut, but now, some are expressing disappointment with the very community that has sprung up around the show's success.

One Redditor wants the Cobra Kai fandom to appreciate the nuance of the show

It must be hard for television writers these days. We don't always know their intent, other than writing good stories that people engage with. And one "Cobra Kai" fan feels its fanbase is not fully appreciating what the writers bring to the screen.

"The writers do their damnedest to paint most characters on this show in shades of gray rather than just black and white. And yet, this Subreddit is full of polarizing opinions like 'Sam good/Tory bad' and vice versa," Redditor Cappuccino_Addict posted. "It's so annoying to constantly see posts where everything is taken at face value." This launched a discussion with more than 40 differing responses.

Some commenters tried to provide reasons. "I think people in general are conditioned to want a pure villain to root against, and so naturally they'll take the flaws out of someone they can't identify with and blow them out of proportion," said SpaceMyopia.

Others recognized the wide audience demographic the show has, from teenagers to original "Karate Kid" fans in their 50s. "The whole black/white thing seems to be from a minority of young fans because most of what they're fed from the media is presented that way," AliTaylor777 said. Redditer jaz_0 agreed that teens tend to see things in black and white: "Time and experience are necessary in order to understand and appreciate the 'grey areas' in life and in storytelling."

Fans appreciate how the show reflects the original movies

Most of the responses to Cappuccino_Addict showed solidarity with their post. "Yeah, this can be a frustrating place to be sometimes," SpaceMyopia replied. "I feel like half of the subreddit often misses the point of this show." Sylinmino responded to that comment saying, "Good Lord, preach. The amount of times I've seen people here unironically proclaim that after Cobra Kai, it's clear that Johnny Lawrence was the victim originally and Danny was the a**hole all along, is staggering." They also referred to Barney Stinson's rant on "How I Met Your Mother," positing that Johnny was the real hero all along. But Sylinmino enjoys the show because of the way it expands on the original "Karate Kid" movies "without disrespecting or undermining it."

Others, like The_MRT14, agree, and enjoy how the new series better reflects real life — at least in terms of the characters. "We're not used to seeing such moody characters on screen, but we sure as hell see much moodier people in real life," they said, acknowledging that some of the show's events are "extremely preposterous." Poster twinsunsspaces feels "the fandom has come full circle," because the characters in the original film were drawn more broadly. Now that the show depicts the characters as "morally grey," they say, the fans want it to be "a simple 'good v evil' story."

Not all the Reddit responses were positive

While most commentors appreciated the show, not all the responses were positive. "That is Reddit for you. The anonymity makes it possible. Ignore the negativity and move on," said 747boeingjet. "It has become saturated with those types of posts but I tend to ignore them now," said Front-Property-2223. RiseDue5753 equated it to other fandoms, like "Star Wars" or the various superhero cinematic universes, saying, "Welcome to fandom in 2022." While you have fans on one side or another, they explain, you also have "the middle ground fans that see and understand both sides. It'll only grow bigger."

Poster KiIIBash20 blamed the OP. "Honestly I'm starting to get more annoyed at posts like this explaining that 'the fandom' or 'the sub' are wrong for having their own perspectives on fictional characters," they said. "How many times do we need to congratulate ourselves for understanding nuance?"

But most seemed to enjoy the conversation, and gave their own opinions. False-Story9510 felt that the writers sometimes take it too far, particularly with certain characters. "When you brutally physically assault someone, you are wrong," they said, referring to the Sam/Tory storyline. "I feel like this show sometimes depicts characters doing really bad things, makes excuses for their behavior, then calls it shades of gray."