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The Cobra Kai Relationship Showrunners Compare To An Iconic Friends Romance

"Cobra Kai" and "Friends" are two shows that don't seem to have a whole lot in common at first glance. The former is an adaptation of the "The Karate Kid" franchise, combining legacy actors from the original films with a group of younger characters, while the latter is a beloved '90s sitcom about friends navigating young adulthood in New York. One central relationship from "Friends," however, compares to the sometimes friendly rivals Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) in "Cobra Kai."

LaRusso and Lawrence's relationship outdated "Friends" by a bit, with the two first facing off in 1984's "The Karate Kid." The rivalry is still strongly felt in "Cobra Kai," but the two have had occasions to call truces to their bitter feud, like when John Kreese (Martin Kove) became a mutual enemy

"Friends" wouldn't debut until 1994, introducing future stars Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, and Matt LeBlanc as the actors making up the central friend group. The young New Yorkers were constantly having relationship difficulties, sometimes with each other, but there is one on-again/off-again romance that one of the "Cobra Kai" showrunners uses as a reference for LaRusso and Lawrence, Macchio revealed.  

LaRusso and Lawrence are like Ross and Rachel

According to Ralph Macchio, "Cobra Kai" co-creator Hayden Schlossberg refers to Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence as the Ross and Rachel of the "Karate Kid" universe. "One of our showrunners, Hayden Schlossberg, would always call them the Ross and Rachel of our show. It's 'different but same,' if you will," Macchio said in 2021 to Screen Rant

Just like Ross and Rachel, the actor said viewers always want to see LaRusso and Lawrence in conflict as much as they want them teamed up. In the same interview, Macchio said the biggest mystery to the series is how the two rivals will find a way to co-exist in peace. "It is the burning question, and it is also the entertainment factor that we enjoy them when they get along — and we also love to see them at odds, pushing each other's buttons. As soon as they break up, we want them together," Macchio stated.

The Ross and Rachel connection is definitely something the "Karate Kid" star took to heart because he's made the reference numerous times when promoting the show. "We always talk about, you know, the Ross and Rachels of ['Cobra Kai']. You want to get to them, but you don't want to put them together — so we're constantly keeping that ball up in the air," he said in 2020 to Entertainment Weekly