Let’s Talk – Cobra Kai – S01E01 – Ace Degenerate


[00:00:00] JC: Welcome to Just Curious Media. This is Let’s Talk Cobra Kai. I’m Jason Connell, documentary filmmaker turned podcaster.

[00:00:07] SR: And I’m Sal Rodriguez, comedian and toy collector. I’m big time excited to talk about Cobra Kai today. 

[00:00:13] JC: So am I. This is incredibly exciting. 

[00:00:15] SR: I’m Kai’d out. 

[00:00:17] JC: You’re Kai’d out? 

[00:00:17] SR: Yeah. Can I start saying that?

[00:00:18] JC: I think it’s a new thing. So when I heard about this show coming out, I was very reluctant and –

[00:00:24] SR: So when you first saw the trailer, you’re like, “What? What are they doing?”

[00:00:27] JC: Yeah. I was really disappointed.

[00:00:29] SR: So wait. So what finally coerced you into watching?

[00:00:32] JC: The good reviews on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, which let me just say, the series has an 8.8 IMDb rating and a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s pretty good. So that is held up in the last two seasons. So finally, I was like, “There’s enough there for me to give it a shot.”

[00:00:50] SR: Was that exclusively on YouTube Red? 

[00:00:53] JC: Correct.

[00:00:54] SR: Right. It’s never been on Netflix or anything?

[00:00:55] JC: Not yet. 

[00:00:56] SR: Okay.

[00:00:57] JC: It was created by Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald, various writers on Harold & Kumar Go to White Caste. The last person I mentioned wrote Hot Tub Time Machine. They had gotten together and wanted to make another Karate Kid movie, a throwback maybe picking up where the original had left off.

[00:01:18] SR: Just forgetting about all the sequels then?

[00:01:22] JC: Exactly, yeah. Just picking up where that left off, and there was a lot of rights issues if you can imagine. Jerry Weintraub had passed away, so it’s the estate they have to deal with. Will Smith and his company were involved when the remake happened. 

[00:01:35] SR: Will Smith is one of the producers of Cobra Kai. 

[00:01:37] JC: Correct.

[00:01:37] SR: Which I found interesting. 

[00:01:38] JC: I mean, more from making it a movie into a show. With success of things like Fuller House, eventually they got it green-lit. 

[00:01:49] SR: Well, the ‘80s are hot right now. Would you say that?

[00:01:51] JC: Exactly. I think they’ve always been hot. 

[00:01:53] SR: You think so?

[00:01:53] JC: A little.

[00:01:54] SR: I mean, the ‘80s stands out more as a decade than the ‘90s. 

[00:01:57] JC: For sure.

[00:01:57] SR: Nobody cares about the ‘90s. 

[00:01:58] JC: I give it 10 years.

[00:02:00] SR: You think people will care about the ‘90s in 10 years like they care about the ‘80s now?

[00:02:03] JC: I think younger generations might care about the ‘90s. 

[00:02:05] SR: What stands out from the ‘90s? Bill Clinton? What do we got?

[00:02:08] JC: Grunge, [inaudible 00:02:09], crisscross. 

[00:02:13] SR: You totally crossed out, you mean?

[00:02:14] JC: Sorry. I’m crossed out. So then they went and got William Zabka first. I’d read that he had never really let the character Johnny go and nor did he ever really get to play him again. He wasn’t in those sequels. 

[00:02:28] SR: But wait. So what has he been doing all these years?

[00:02:30] JC: We’ll have to ask him when we get him on the podcast. 

[00:02:32] SR: Yeah. I mean, he wasn’t this like Jackie Earle Haley guy who was like hanging out, waiting for another break again. Is that what was happening?

[00:02:40] JC: I’m not sure. Maybe he was a handyman. 

[00:02:42] SR: Yeah. 

[00:02:43] JC: So then they teamed out and they figured –

[00:02:45] SR: That took me a second. 

[00:02:46] JC: Just give it a second. Then they went after Ralph Macchio, which was tougher, because he had really distanced himself from a lot of the Karate Kid stuff. 

[00:02:56] SR: But has he been acting though in other –

[00:02:58] JC: Yeah. Ralph Macchio had been doing things. Obviously, he never –

[00:03:00] SR: He’s been acting recently?

[00:03:03] JC: Yes. 

[00:03:03] SR: He has been. Okay. Because after he was in My Cousin Vinny. 

[00:03:07] JC: Yeah. It was a good film. 

[00:03:08] SR: After that, I kind of lost track of him. 

[00:03:09] JC: He was in the movie called Beer League. He popped up in some things but no substantial character. I’m sure he also always probably wanted more from those subsequent films. Again, let’s just be honest. Karate Kid II wasn’t awful. It’s like Jaws II. It’s still pretty good. But from there, I believe it went downhill. 

Then they got him signed up, and he really wanted to know where the character was going and was really not just wanting a good pitch. But he really wanted to know development in the story. These guys, I got to give them credit. They really created something special, and I’m excited to share what we think about it with our audience. 

[00:03:47] SR: I’m pretty excited. I’m totally Kai’d out. 

[00:03:50] JC: Yup. You said that already. So this show, unlike the Karate Kid, is filmed in California and Georgia. Some locations are in the Valley, but there were some other locations that I was trying to think where it was. I found out it was in Atlanta.

[00:04:05] SR: Wait. So in episode 1, there are some scenes shot in Georgia?

[00:04:10] JC: LaRusso Auto. It’s things like that. 

[00:04:14] SR: Well, now I feel cheated. 

[00:04:15] JC: I know. I do too.

[00:04:16] SR: Because Karate Kid was all shot in the Valley.

[00:04:18] JC: But there’s a lot of shot in here, so it’s a good mash-up of both. 

[00:04:21] SR: The very beginning of episode 1 season 1, Johnny’s driving. That’s here.

[00:04:25] JC: Yeah. That’s in LA. 

[00:04:27] SR: Yeah. I recognize Ventura Boulevard and all that. 

[00:04:29] JC: Season 1 of Cobra Kai came out May 2nd, 2018. Episode 1 is called Ace Degenerate. It gets an 8.8 rating on IMDb. So we open with All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament, and we are going back in time right now. 

[00:04:47] SR: It even gives the date I think. 

[00:04:49] JC: December 19th, 1984. 

[00:04:51] SR: Yes. 

[00:04:51] JC: Now, before we go further, I looked this up. That’s a Wednesday.

[00:04:57] SR: Okay. 

[00:04:57] JC: Very strange date for a tournament. I mean, even if it’s Christmas break, people have to go to work. I looked in the stands of that tournament, and it’s full of adults, extras. So why did they not, Sal, just say December 22nd, Saturday? Is it too close to Christmas? 

[00:05:20] SR: I think it’s too close to Christmas. People are going to say, “Who the hell is having a karate tournament a few days before Christmas?”

[00:05:25] JC: So they just say they knock three off and call it a day. Well, you know what I think sometimes? Certain dates in movies, it might’ve been one of their producer’s daughter’s birthday or something. So I was thinking that. Maybe the director – Rest in peace, John Avildsen. Guess when his birthday is. 

[00:05:41] SR: Not December 19th

[00:05:42] JC: December 21st

[00:05:44] SR: What? 

[00:05:45] JC: So maybe there was a thought like, “Let’s do it on that.” Then he said, “That’s going to have a 20s. Let’s knock it down with the teens and put it on a Wednesday. Who’s going to research that?” But anyway, it’s small detail but still pretty funny. 

[00:05:58] SR: No. I am always interested in the tiny decisions, and that was one thing I really loved when I was doing Q&A moderator at film festivals, was I always ask the director, why did you do that? Even little things. Why did you have him drink with his right hand and not his left hand? Why did the car make a right turn, not a left turn? Little things that your average viewer may think is – It would just mingle over their head or their mundane, but there’s always reasons why directors and writers do things. 

[00:06:26] JC: I totally agree, and this is a little big detail. If we ever get the writer on, he might be the person to ask, because they easily could’ve called it something else. But I think it was too close to the holidays. You know what? Do it the Saturday prior. Get away from it completely. That would’ve been what?

[00:06:44] SR: 7 days prior to December 19th, the 12th?

[00:06:46] JC: No. 7 days prior to 22nd. It would’ve been 15th, so December 15th. All right. We are in, and we are back in time in the Daniel and Johnny match. It’s astounding. I thought initially maybe there’s different angles of things we hadn’t seen. But I did a side-by-side comparison, and it’s just taken right out of the movie. But I felt like it really gave the show gravitas to see like, “Oh, they’re really going back, and they have the Bible. They got a playbook. That’s the first shot of the movie.”

[00:07:15] SR: Yeah. They’re not alluding to it.

[00:07:17] JC: No. The first thing that was different was when the crane kick comes and Johnny goes down. He lays on the ground a lot longer, rather than getting up and giving Danny the trophy from the movie. What did he say when he gives him the trophy?

[00:07:27] SR: I forgot what he said. It was, “This is for you. You earned this,” or something like that. “Are you all right, LaRusso?” Is that what he said in Karate Kid?

[00:07:37] JC: Yeah. 

[00:07:38] SR: Okay. But they didn’t have that in this one. 

[00:07:39] JC: They didn’t go that far. So they did the face plant dissolve or cut into face plant on the bed in present day with Coors cans all over the bed.

[00:07:50] SR: He makes a swig of that one. 

[00:07:52] JC: He takes a swig of a Coors bottle. You just know from those opening shots that Johnny’s life has not gone the way it should have gone. 

[00:08:02] SR: Well, I’m definitely wondering. When I see that, I’m wondering what has he been doing all these years? When did his life start going downhill? Was it right after that tournament, right after he has that face-off with his sensei?

[00:08:15] JC: Yeah. It’s with Kreese in that parking lot.

[00:08:17] SR: Yeah. Is that when his life started going downhill or did he, at least, have some decent 20s and then start going downhill in his 30s? 

[00:08:23] JC: Maybe it’s when the heroin started. 

[00:08:26] SR: Does he do heroin?

[00:08:27] JC: No. 

[00:08:28] SR: I have not seen any other episodes yet. 

[00:08:32] JC: I think they’re putting it all on this tournament. 

[00:08:34] SR: Wow! So that was a life-changing moment. I had a rap battle in high school, and it went terribly. Look where I’m at today. 

[00:08:43] JC: If you only won that battle. 

[00:08:44] SR: If I would’ve won that –

[00:08:44] JC: You wouldn’t be sitting here with me now. So Johnny’s apartment, as we see the exteriors, he’s dressing to go to work. 

[00:08:51] SR: And by the way –

[00:08:52] JC: He’s cooking like bologna for breakfast.

[00:08:52] SR: He’s frying bologna.

[00:08:55] JC: Frying bologna. 

[00:08:57] SR: You can’t get much lower than that.

[00:08:58] JC: There’s just Coors everywhere. 

[00:09:00] SR: A mayonnaise sandwich maybe. I’m really just curious about the movie he’s watching as he’s eating his fried bologna. He’s watching some film where somebody is mowing people down with an assault rifle or something. 

[00:09:13] JC: I don’t know what that is. Was it Killing Zoe? That’s one thing I did not research. 

[00:09:16] SR: Yeah. Then later on, he’s watching the movie. We’ll get into that. 

[00:09:18] JC: We’ll get into that. Historically.

[00:09:21] SR: Okay. So I started thinking, is that the same movie?

[00:09:23] JC: No. 

[00:09:23] SR: Okay. 

[00:09:23] JC: So we leave the apartment, and it really reminded me of where Daniel lived in Karate Kid, the Seven Seas. They did a good job of – It’s not the Seven Seas, but it’s in Reseda. They did a good job of putting him in that environment. 

[00:09:30] SR: Well, it’s a role reversal. Right?

[00:09:38] JC: Exactly. So who do we meet right when he comes out? 

[00:09:42] SR: Miguel. 

[00:09:43] JC: Miguel. Miguel Diaz. 

[00:09:44] SR: Or also referred to as a Menudo.

[00:09:46] JC: Not very PC. 

[00:09:47] SR: Which, but the way, Menudo for the uninitiated or Puerto Rican. They weren’t Mexican, even though everybody thinks that he was Mexican. 

[00:09:54] JC: Good point. But immediately, it’s like this show is kind of twisting things. It’s almost like we meet a young Danielson. 

[00:10:02] SR: Yes. It’s almost like a parallel universe.

[00:10:04] JC: Yeah. It’s little stranger things. 

[00:10:05] SR: Yes. 

[00:10:06] JC: Johnny is Miyagi. Anyway, he’s really rude. Johnny’s not a happy guy. He’s a drunk, he’s not where he wants to be, he’s alone, and he’s a handyman. He’s a handyman that drives a Pontiac Firebird, which I thought was interesting, because I was thinking if you’re handyman, you maybe want to drive a truck or something. Was that not his car in the original movie?

[00:10:30] SR: I don’t remember him driving a car in Karate Kid. 

[00:10:32] JC: He drove that one scene where they invited Danny to come with them.

[00:10:36] SR: Was he driving?

[00:10:37] JC: He was driving. But it was a convertible, and it wasn’t this car. Some other guy rolled up in a car like this. That’s right. 

[00:10:43] SR: Okay. But I think we’re led to believe or should assume that this Pontiac Firebird he’s had for decades. 

[00:10:50] JC: Yeah, absolutely. Since the ‘80s, and it blares ‘80s rock music right out of the gate. So next, we see Johnny driving on Ventura Boulevard. He comes up to a stop sign, and what do we see in front of him but LaRusso Auto Group Billboard. At that moment, Johnny says, “Another one?” I don’t know if he meant another billboard or another location. 

[00:11:15] SR: Or both. 

[00:11:16] JC: Or both. It says, “We kick the competition! Tarzana, Woodland Hills, North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks.” So they’re like the CarMax of this world. Of course, it’s LaRusso. The next thing we know Johnny is very – It’s almost like Billy Madison when he rolled up and went back to high school, but he was – Remember that?

[00:11:36] SR: Yeah. 

[00:11:36] JC: He was like not cool anymore. That is very much Johnny in this world. He rolls up and tries to hit on a female runner, and she calls him a creep. So he is just decades behind, and he’s got a bad attitude about it. Then we have a classic ‘80s montage of Johnny doing handyman work.

[00:11:55] SR: He’s hanging up this flat screen on a wall and then comes and gets pushed out by the woman of the house. Subsequently, then he gets fired from his job, because he says to her, “Quit bitching at me.” She says, “What did you call me?” I think she said, “What did you call me?” 

[00:12:11] JC: That’s right. Yeah. She said, “Did you call me a bitch?”

[00:12:14] SR: So then he gets fired from his handyman job.

[00:12:17] JC: That’s right. I like how he used to make that call in a lookout point over Griffith Park. Then what does he hear on the radio? 

[00:12:25] SR: He’s just becoming surrounded by LaRusso. He sees the billboard. He hears the radio ad. Then in the next scene, he’s going to be seeing the commercial. He just cannot escape from the ghost of Daniel LaRusso.

[00:12:37] JC: Which is kind of funny. Like you said, 35 years ago or whenever, you had this rap thing that you did. 

[00:12:44] SR: Hey, don’t me. It wasn’t 35 years ago. 

[00:12:45] JC: I’m sorry. Two years ago. 

[00:12:47] SR: When I was in high school 10 years ago. 

[00:12:49] JC: I’ve had many seasons that ended poorly, and we had the converse of that. We want some titles, but it’s not as if any of those hung with me and brought me down. There was a lot on this under 18 karate tournament. 

[00:13:01] SR: But you mentioned something. I think you mentioned in passing off the air where you said that Lawrence would beat LaRusso in a street fight any day, but it’s just in a competitive tournament environment. 

[00:13:14] JC: Point system. 

[00:13:15] SR: Yeah. Things are different. I mean, in a few scenes from that one, we see him kick ass in front of Reseda Flats. I don’t know if Danielson can do that. 

[00:13:25] JC: I think he’s also taking his training further than he was in the first tournament in the first Karate Kid.

[00:13:32] SR: Well, because later on in the scene where he was with his daughter, he’s wearing a black belt. I’m thinking, did he legitimately earn this black belt or is this a stolen black belt from Karate Kid? 

[00:13:39] JC: No. I think Daniel’s – Or even his training continued in the third Karate Kid as well as the second Karate Kid. So I do believe that he is probably at an equal level of Johnny now in the world but not at the time. So who can win a street fight now? I’d say it’s a tossup. Who’s in better shape? Right? I don’t know.

[00:13:57] SR: Well, who –

[00:13:57] JC: Johnny’s drinking a lot.

[00:13:58] SR: But Johnny looks like he’s in better shape. 

[00:14:01] JC: Why does he look like a bad ass? 

[00:14:02] SR: I mean, he’s a little more built, and LaRusso is a little more scrawny, just like in the Karate Kid. LaRusso was a little bit scrawnier.

[00:14:08] JC: And they’re both hotheads for sure. Anyway, we’ve just seen how far the mighty have fallen from Karate Kid lower to now Johnny is a beaten man. Guess what starts to happen. I, and I think you as well, felt empathy for Johnny. You start to think, “Wow! I didn’t know this side of him.” He was such a prick. Not only that, we have some mother movies that were very similar. He was so typecast. 

[00:14:31] SR: But there was that moment of redemption at the end of Karate Kid when he hands LaRusso the trophy, and what did he say again?

[00:14:39] JC: You are right, LaRusso. 

[00:14:40] SR: Yeah. So at that moment it’s the – That’s the olive branch. At the end of Karate Kid, I think that we don’t hate Johnny anymore. 

[00:14:49] JC: That’s true. 

[00:14:50] SR: He redeemed himself at the very end. So you don’t go into Cobra Kai, I don’t think, hating Johnny. I think you kind of go in a little more open-minded if you remember how Karate Kid ended. 

[00:15:00] JC: Yeah, you’re right. He wasn’t as hated. But every time we went back to rewatch the movie, he’s a bad guy all over again. I think it would’ve been nice to have him in the sequel beyond the opening sequence with Mr. Miyagi and have him be a part of that story, but it just didn’t happen. 

I was always curious what had happened of the Cobra Kais. Maybe they could’ve changed without Kreese. I think that happened in the third Karate Kid. Maybe they will do a special episode at some point in time, because I really don’t know much about the third Karate Kid. I remember trying to watch it and just not being into it like 19 – I just was so detached. 

[00:15:35] SR: It was Pat Morita in Karate Kid III?

[00:15:36] JC: Yeah. I think it was all of them, and that was the last one that Ralph Macchio was in.

[00:15:41] SR: Well, it was in Karate Kid IV, right?

[00:15:43] JC: That was the next Karate Kid, and that was Hilary Swank. 

[00:15:49] SR: Interesting. 

[00:15:50] JC: If you watch the trailer, it gets a little hokey really. But Morita’s in it. It’s a payday. So we’re at the minimart, and Johnny is getting a classic pizza slice dinner, very unsanitary.

[00:16:03] SR: The guy grabs a pizza slice with his hand. It’s so horrible. 

[00:16:06] JC: It’s disgusting.

[00:16:07] SR: Why would Johnny want to eat that pizza when the guy is holding it with his bare hands? 

[00:16:11] JC: It was hard to watch.

[00:16:13] SR: The name of the market is called Reseda Flats, which is interesting if you know a little bit of folklore about the San Fernando Valley. Actually, probably all of Los Angeles, the word flats has old gang overtones or undertones. There used to be a gang in Pacoima, which is on the northeast end of the San Fernando Valley called Pacoima Flats. I’m wondering if maybe at one time there was a gang in Reseda called Reseda Flats. 

[00:16:39] JC: I didn’t know that.

[00:16:39] SR: But I’ve never heard of the word flats used anywhere in the Valley, San Fernando Valley, other than Pacoima Flats. So I wonder if they did a little homage to Pacoima Flats and called that place Reseda Flats, because I’ve never heard of that expression, that name. I thought that was pretty interesting.

[00:16:54] JC: I’d like to find out. Miguel is also in the mini mart. 

[00:16:58] SR: Miguel goes there to get Pepto-Bismol for his grandmother, right? That’s what we learned.

[00:17:03] JC: But then on the way out, Johnny passes this rowdy bunch of kids, which really remind me of a Cobra Kai scene. These guys come spilling out of a jeep. So one of them is vaping and blows his smoke into Johnny’s face with his pizza. These guys are high schoolers, and Johnny just dismisses it. But these guys re trouble, and you know it.

[00:17:22] SR: Yeah. Johnny just let it roll off his back. Sat down, starts eating his pizza, gets accosted by that lady.

[00:17:28] JC: That’s right. A homeless lady.

[00:17:29] SR: Yeah, vagrant. Hey, this is my corner to work.

[00:17:34] JC: Johnny is looking like he didn’t even have a home. He does have a car. So next thing we know, the rowdy kids come out. They’re pushing over Miguel. All of a sudden, they’re beating him up. Very reminiscent of what happened to Daniel with the Cobra Kais. 

[00:17:50] SR: But there’s no girl to fight over. 

[00:17:52] JC: There’s no girl.

[00:17:52] SR: There’s no boombox. 

[00:17:53] JC: No boombox, no soccerballs. There’s no soccer in this episode in like the movie. 

[00:17:57] SR: In fact, if I was going to get my ass kicked, I’d rather have my ass kicked at the beach. 

[00:18:01] JC: I agree. 

[00:18:02] SR: I mean, if I’m going to get my ass kicked, I’d rather look at some nature’s landscape. I want to see beauty if I’m getting my head bashed in.

[00:18:09] JC: Then they pour the Pepto-Bismol all over his head, which is just despicable.

[00:18:13] SR: Very insulting because he said, “I got that from my grandmother.” 

[00:18:16] JC: So Johnny is still not doing anything until they throw Miguel at his car, and the car getting hit, that was it. 

[00:18:24] SR: [00:18:23] said, “Hey!” 

[00:18:24] JC: Johnny puts his pizza slice down, and he turns into Mr. Miyagi, taking out all the Cobra Kais, if you will. 

[00:18:32] SR: Well, remember that first kick? I think he pulled a groin muscle. 

[00:18:35] JC: I think he did. He hadn’t had that in a while. I give the guys credit. They even fought back like a second and third time on like the movie. 

[00:18:42] SR: They kept coming back.

[00:18:43] JC: Eventually, he best them all, and Miguel is in awe. But it goes a little too far, because the cops show up. 

[00:18:50] SR: Yes, and they pepper spray him right away.

[00:18:52] JC: Pepper spray him. And next thing you know, Johnny is hold off to jail. 

[00:18:55] SR: By the way, I did watch that fight scene twice. Actually, I probably watched it foru times at this point, because I really like that fight scene a lot.

[00:19:03] JC: That was good. 

[00:19:04] SR: I think it was really choreographed really well. I say that because I’m a big fan of mixed martial arts. I’ve been watching UFC since ’93 from the beginning. I’ve seen every UFC event. You know what? When I watch a fight scene, I watch it with a critical eye. I’m usually thinking, “Oh, this looks so fake.” But you know what? The scenes choreographed really well. It was good. I liked it a lot. 

[00:19:25] JC: The kids did really good in that. I thought I didn’t like them immediately. I’m against them, so you’re already pulling for Johnny more. 

[00:19:31] SR: Well, they did the old laughing at you as they beat you, “Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Look at this guy. Ha! Ha!” They’re laughing as they’re beating you. As someone who has been jumped on the streets of the San Fernando Valley –

[00:19:43] JC: You have?

[00:19:44] SR: Yeah. 

[00:19:45] JC: Recently?

[00:19:45] SR: Not recently. But I will say that never once were they laughing when they beat me. They only beat me. They did not laugh and beat me, which makes it even worse.

[00:19:56] JC: Were you even beaten on the beach? 

[00:19:58] SR: Unfortunately, no. I was beaten in front of a gas station one time, in front of a grocery store another time. Unfortunately, growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I was jumped no less than three times.

[00:20:08] JC: What were you wearing?

[00:20:10] SR: Well, one time I had a shaved head and they accused me of being from a rival gang at the time, because unfortunately right when I decided to shave my head in high school, there was a gang that was known for shaved heads. So stupid me decides to shave my head, which was not the style at the time necessarily in that area.

[00:20:25] JC: You’re a trendsetter.

[00:20:26] SR: Yeah. So I’m thinking I’m like cool with my shaved head. Meanwhile this gang pops out of this car, “Hey, you’re from Brownstown?” That was the gang. “You’re from Brownstown?” “No. I’m not from Brownstown.” 

[00:20:33] JC: No. I’m from the flats.

[00:20:35] SR: Yeah, exactly. While they kicked my ass in front of the gas station up and down. Unfortunately, I did not know karate.

[00:20:39] JC: What about the other times? 

[00:20:41] SR: I still didn’t know Karate. 

[00:20:43] JC: Still bald?

[00:20:44] SR: Still today. Bald, still no karate. 

[00:20:47] JC: No karate. But you know how to examine a fight.

[00:20:49] SR: I have taken muay thai. I have taken boxing. Again, having taken some fights, coaching, having watch many fights. I’m telling you, I watch fights. I choreograph fight with a critical eye. They’re either like way out there, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon where they’re like completely a farce. But, no, I like the way these fights are choreographed. I like that you also can’t tell. Even if you pause it, you can’t really tell the stuntman. It was really well-done. 

[00:21:14] JC: It was good. Then it nice to see Johnny back in form, and also protecting Miguel. Initially it was his car, but he knew this is not good. So you know there’s something inside Johnny that he’s not just a bully. He was breaking up bullies. That was kind of neat to see. But he’s in jail. 

The next thing we see, Johnny has been released from jail and Miguel is waiting for him outside the apartment complex. 

[00:21:38] SR: He says, “I want to tell you thank you.”

[00:21:40] JC: He also plant in his ear, “You should open up a dojo.” He didn’t say dojo. “You should teach me karate,” I guess. 

[00:21:46] SR: Yes.

[00:21:47] JC: That’s where Johnny, really, the idea begins to crystalize. 

[00:21:50] SR: Interesting. I didn’t think about that. So Miguel was the one who initially gave him the idea.

[00:21:54] JC: Because Miguel was so impressed by what he saw, he just lost his job. So put two and two together. But when he opens his door to go into his own apartment, there is Ed Asner as Johnny’s stepdad.

[00:22:07] SR: There with his nurse.

[00:22:08] JC: His nurse.

[00:22:09] SR: It was kind of a valet almost, because at the end, remember, he’s like, “Oh! Call up Art’s Deli.” So he’s kind of like his nurse, but kind of like his personal assistant as well.

[00:22:18] JC: Yeah. Come to find out that Johnny’s mother has passed. This is his stepfather who we found out probably didn’t care about Johnny that much, but promised to his mother that he would take care of him. So what does he do?

[00:22:32] SR: Well, he’s had it up to here. I guess that Johnny’s been a problem for many years. He’s probably had been bailed out many times by his stepdad. So at this moment in time, his stepdad has had enough. He wants him out of his life, and he says something like, “Even your mother would forgive me.” Then he hands him a check. When somebody hands somebody a check, I want to know how much is that check. 

[00:22:54] JC: It wasn’t a blank check. 

[00:22:56] SR: No. That would be really fantastic. But he hands him a check, and then Johnny just rips it up. Says, “I don’t want your money.” 

[00:23:01] JC: I initially thought it was 10, but I’d say 25,000. You tend to think it’s –

[00:23:07] SR: I’m probably thinking it’s about 50,000 is what I’m thinking.

[00:23:08] JC: So we’re going to have to ask William when we get him in the show. 

[00:23:12] SR: Yes. How much was that check for? I want to see the prop. I want to see the actual prop to see if there’s actual writing on there. 

[00:23:18] JC: So he gives him the check. What’s he do?

[00:23:19] SR: He rips it. He says, “I don’t want your money.” 

[00:23:20] JC: Rips is up.

[00:23:20] SR: Yeah. 

[00:23:21] JC: Next scene, we cut to classic 80s movie. Iron Eagle. So he’s watching Iron Eagle, and you can tell this is a big movie for Johnny, and it’s a scene with Chappie, Louis Gosset Jr. Pretty inspiring speech. 

[00:23:38] SR: Sure. Letting him know, reminding you to dig into yourself. Remember who you are, grab who you used to be, and bring them back out again. 

[00:23:48] JC: That’s exactly it. But then it’s short-lived, because LaRusso’s commercial pops on. 

[00:23:52] SR: Yes. That’s what I’m saying. He cannot escape LaRusso everywhere he goes. During that moment, where he’s getting emotional, you could see he’s starting to tear up a bit. This is a very life-changing pivotal moment. Then boom! LaRusso Auto Sales coming up.

[00:24:07] JC: His remote is not working. So, of course, he throws the remote into the TV, smashing it, because he’s just had enough of LaRusso. 

[00:24:15] SR: Is that the Elvis moment? Didn’t Elvis do something like that? Or Elvis shot the TV?

[00:24:18] JC: I’m sure Elvis did a lot of things. 

[00:24:20] SR: Elvis shot the TV.

[00:24:21] JC: Yeah. So Johnny is mad. This commercial though, to speak on that, it’s pretty funny, because now we actually, for the first time in this series so far, we see LaRusso come to life. He’s doing like cutting prices, and he’s doing some karate moves in the commercial. He’s getting so much mileage out of this tournament. 

[00:24:39] SR: It was All Valley, remember. 

[00:24:40] JC: It was almost like the Olympics

[00:24:42] SR: It was All Valley. 

[00:24:43] JC: Are you sure it wasn’t just All California? It was, “No. It’s All Valley.”

[00:24:47] SR: And his commercials are totally hoaky and silly. Yeah, he’s hacking away at prices in karate chops.

[00:24:53] JC: Okay. So it’s 35 years later. There’s a winner of the All Valley Tournament every year, are the other 34 guys just as popular? 

[00:25:03] SR: Well, the other 34 guys are just as popular, but then the guys that lost are now downtrodden, drinking. 

[00:25:09] JC: I guess you win that tournament, game changer. So that’s it. Johnny’s out. He’s been drinking a lot, and we are having another montage. But this time, this one is straight out of Karate Kid.

[00:25:22] SR: Well, because we’re listening to Head Games by Foreigner. 

[00:25:25] JC: We’re seeing old Johnny footage.

[00:25:27] SR: Yes.

[00:25:28] JC: On the beach with the motorcycles, Ali, juggling a soccer ball. 

[00:25:34] SR: At that moment as he’s driving, he’s kind of putting it all together, making sense. It’s kind of very much a phoenix out of the ashes moment.

[00:25:41] JC: Very much.

[00:25:42] SR: Yeah. Well, he’s starting to come back to life. 

[00:25:45] JC: And he parks at the location of the All Valley Karate Tournament. 

[00:25:51]SR: He goes back in time to that parking lot where had the face off with Kreese, right? 

[00:25:57] JC: Exactly.

[00:25:59] SR: As he’s driving in the car and we’re listening to Head Games and we’re watching the montage, when he cuts the car, the music stops. So he was playing the music in his car. It wasn’t the soundtrack. That I found interesting. He was playing Head Games. So here he is in the parking lot of the All Valley Karate Tournament. He’s having his moment. He’s having a breakthrough. Then boom! Here come three drunken chicks, young girls.

[00:26:24] JC: I don’t know if they’re drunk. They’re on the phone.

[00:26:25] SR: Oh, okay. They’re not drunk, because one of them said you shouldn’t be watching your phone. You shouldn’t be on your phone. Okay. So they crash in to his car, which is so stupid. That was the only car around, and yet they crash in the Valley.

[00:26:35] JC: Now, granted he didn’t do a very good job parking, but there’s plenty of room to go around. 

[00:26:40] SR: You know what’s interesting is we might found out later why were those girls there. That was sort of a vacant area? What were they doing there? I want to know. 

[00:26:48] JC: It’s a plot point. So it’s a hit and run. He runs up like a madman, scares them, but gets a pretty good look at them, who’s inside. 

[00:26:57] SR: Well, because he’s yelling, “Open up the door.” 

[00:26:59] JC: And that’s the last thing they’re going to do.

[00:27:01] SR: Sure. They’re just in the car freaking out. He’s yelling at the window. He comes face-to-face with the girl in the backseat and they just like a bat out of hell say, “Let’s get the hell out of here,” and they take off. So he’s standing there – Oh, no. He runs to his car, and the car won’t start. 

[00:27:15] JC: So the next thing we see, there’s a tow truck, and they’ve got their car ready to take into the shop. Now, they give him a piece of paper and say, “You can get your car here.” Of course, it is another reference to LaRusso Auto, who also has the best rates in town, and they can fix anything. But what cracks me up is the tow man just leaves him there. 

[00:27:36] SR: Yeah.

[00:27:37] JC: I’ve had my cars towed before back in the day, and you ride with them, or you get in your car.

[00:27:42] SR: Sure.

[00:27:42] JC: So Johnny is in the middle of nowhere as you just alluded to with no ride. The next scene is he’s taking a taxi. Very old school of Johnny. Not Uber or Lyft.

[00:27:53] SR: Not Uber. Okay.

[00:27:54] JC: And he goes to LaRusso Auto to get his car and go to another mechanic. What happens while he’s in LaRusso Auto?

[00:28:06] SR: He runs into Daniel LaRusso. Daniel LaRusso calls him, “Johnny, is that you?” Then they have their face off there in the middle of the show room of the auto dealership. 

[00:28:16] JC: Of course, he recognizes him in two seconds.

[00:28:17] SR: Sure. Oh! But then to make matters worse, Daniel LaRusso invites some of his underling workers over, “Hey! This is the guy you beat.” Then Daniel, when he says this is where you realize, “Oh! I think Daniel’s,” to use a WWE term, “he’s a heel.” “Oh! I kicked him in the face.” When he said that is when I go, “Hmm. This is interesting.” Now, Daniel’s kind of bullying a little bit. He’s showing off. 

[00:28:42] JC: He’s lived with the legend for so long. 

[00:28:45] SR: But he made a reference about Cobra Kai, right? He said something about, “Isn’t it so great they’re not around anymore?” He says something like that. He puts down Cobra Kai.

[00:28:53] JC: It wasn’t you. It was Cobra Kai. Because he’s remembering how that parking lot scene ended. 

[00:28:57] SR: Yes. Then he sends his underlings away. He says, “Get back to work.” Then they start getting down the nuts and bolts of the car, the invoice. It’s going to end up costing more than the car’s worth.

[00:29:06] JC: It’s really a nice touching moment that he offers to just fix the older Pontiac, because it’s not worth that much. Johnny reluctantly accepts. It’s a nice touch, because you know he’s embarrassed. 

What else happens is while he’s there, we see LaRusso’s daughter. We don’t really meet her, Samantha. But Johnny recognizes her from the girl in the backseat that hit him, and that is it. He’s pissed. He’s like, “I’ve been LaRusso’d again.” He walks off, but Daniel comes after him and gives him what he gives all of his customers, is a classic bonsai tree. Johnny takes it, walks outside and drops it.

[00:29:44] SR: Yeah. Then I think there’s somebody looking at a car, a customer and a salesperson, and I think they looked over like they do. Who the hell is this guy? 

[00:29:50] JC: You queue the music, and you know right then and there Cobra Kai is back.

[00:29:56] SR: Oh! 

[00:29:57] JC: So there’s another montage, a third ‘80s montage in this episode, where Johnny is now using the check that he ripped up. So he cashed the check for $25,000 and opens up the dojo in Reseda Flats, right next to the minimart. 

[00:30:14] SR: Yes, and the same strip mall, which I thought was hilarious. He opens up the dojo in this same strip mall where he beat those kids’ asses. I thought that was very funny. 

[00:30:21] JC: It’s not good energy.

[00:30:23] SR: Yeah, exactly.

[00:30:24] JC: Then he gets a stencil, and what’s he put on the wall? 

[00:30:26] SR: Strike first, strike hard, no mercy.

[00:30:30] JC: We see the Cobra Kai logo come on street. Man! That I was excited. Cobra Kai is back. The hint of what Daniel’s life looks like, he’s obviously a success. Johnny’s fallen from grace. There’s no Ali, by the way. There’s no mention of her. 

[00:30:46] SR: No.

[00:30:47] JC: We know that Daniel has a kid.

[00:30:49] SR: Yeah.

[00:30:49] JC: Johnny has his first Cobra Kai pupil. Do we know anything else?

[00:30:54] SR: We don’t know anything else about Johnny yet, because something will be revealed in the next episode. 

[00:31:00] JC: As we wrap up, anything you want to add? 

[00:31:02] SR: Yeah. I just want to mention, for the toy lovers out there, there is a very cool line of action figures that have just been released right now as we speak by a company called Neca, N-E-C-A, Karate Kid action figures. There’s a very cool two pack is the tournament scene, Daniel LaRusso, Johnny Lawrence, faced off in a two pack action figure set that I will be reviewing on my YouTube channel, which is SalvadorLosAngeles, all one word SalvadorLosAngeles. So look out for that. I will be having that up very soon. 

[00:31:36] JC: That thing looks amazing, by the way. 

Thanks for listening to Let’s Talk Cobra Kai. Be sure to subscribe to us on Apple iTunes or anywhere else you might get your podcast. Definitely be sure to check out other episodes. Thank you. Take care. 


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