I am grateful to the Shazam and Captain Marvel movies for reminding me that this show was out there! They showed the trailer for this before both movies and I was all like “oh yeah!” Now that I have checked it out, I am grateful. This show is a GREAT chaser for Stranger Things because they do a bunch of the 80’s “Karate Kid” flashbacks in the memories of the now grown up Danny Russo and Johnny Lawrence. Johnny shows us all what we know to be true, that popular bullies peak in high school. Now a grown up, he is a loser in every way – bad habits, failed marriage, bad father, can’t keep a job, and he is still a jerk. He is the complete opposite of Danny Russo, who has a beautiful family, loving marriage, gorgeous home, and is a successful business owner. Johnny grunts and sulks his way through opening scenes until a nice, teen neighbor – who he is horrible to – is getting bullied. He steps in and realizes what karate and the Cobra Kai gym meant to him. He gets some money and reopens the gym. He has only one student and he is NO Mr. Miyagi and makes lots of mistakes but starts to pull his life together. Danny – concurrently – also reconnects with his Karate roots when he realizes he has gotten away from the “balance” Mr. Miyagi taught him. Both journeys are great (I get emotional when he puts on his Gi and hangs the picture of Mr. Miyagi), but it is the TEEN stories that are the most compelling. The mean kids in this movie are MEANER (if you can imagine) than Johnny’s gang was to Danny! The kids in Cobra Kai learn from their Sensais and face their challenges, go to a tournament, make friends, and heal family relationships. It is great to watch the mean kids (and some mean adults) get put in their place in big, gratifying ways!

Rate: Binge it and the original Karate Kid – there are some good life lessons you may have missed when you were younger!

Binge food: Banana-rama Pancakes! (After the singers of “Cruel, Cruel Summer”, one of the many nods to the original Karate Kid movie that pop up.)