10 Reasons Why ‘Cobra Kai’ And ‘Glee’ Are Kind Of The Same Show

We are both blessed and cursed to have these shows in our lives.

I don’t know about you, but my high school experience was a lot less hectic than the choir students in Glee’s New directions or Cobra-Kai Miyagi-Do karate-cutting kids.

With Joy is set to premiere on Disney+ and Hulu starting June 1 and the fourth season of Cobra Kai now available on Netflix, I had the mind-boggling revelation that these very different TV shows bear a striking resemblance. Buckle up. It’s going to be a wild ride.


Both shows center on an overzealous teacher who is waaaaay too involved in the personal lives of his high school students.

Netflix / Via tenor.com

Gleeks will recall Will Schuester as the overzealous educator of OG, who constantly conjures up a love-hate relationship in viewers. On the one hand, he’s his students’ biggest fan and cheerleader, but on the other, he raps “Ice Ice Baby” and does things like blackmail the students into being in the Glee. Club.

Walk in Cobra Kai’s Daniel LaRusso, the child of karate has grown up, and we see just as much drive and ambition to ensure the success of his students – but not without a price. Like Schuester, LaRusso lives in the past and often pressures his protégés to make his dream come true. Both shows are full of high school drama, and for some reason, the two teachers are always heavily involved.


Both shows focus on the competitive world of a highly niche, unnecessarily high-stakes hobby.

Fox / Via tenor.com

While pursuing a competitive activity like karate or a show choir, it is sure to come with pressure and drama, both Cobra Kai and Joy take things to the extreme. Remember when Rachel Berry sent her contestant, Sunshine Corazon, to a crack house because she wanted to remain New Directions’ top singer? Or when all the kids were throwing slushies at each other and Blaine was temporarily blinded?

Whereas Cobra KaiThe karate counterpart cuts the slushies, these kids still endure high-stakes drama in the form of using their karate moves on each other in public and going to great lengths to sabotage their competition.


Both shows use the lure of nostalgia.

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fans of the Karate Kid the films will have a field day with all Cobra Kai’s links with the series. It’s a reboot at its best, bringing back an impressive cast of actors from the movies, including Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso and William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence, respectively. The series doesn’t require you to know anything about the original franchise, but is only more enjoyable if you do.

In the same way, Joy finds a part of its heart in bringing back popular hits from the past, ranging from Michael Jackson to Stevie Wonder to Britney Spears. Throughout the show’s six seasons, we’ve also seen a ton of musical guests, including Ricky Martin, Carol Burnett, and Gloria Estefan.


Both shows have a power couple and, subsequently, a love triangle.

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Every high school clique has to have a reigning king and queen, right? In Joy, Rachel and Finn are usually the romantic couple wearing that badge of honor, though we also come across equally dynamic duos in Blaine and Kurt and Santana and Brittany. Since it’s high school (and since it’s TV), these romantic relationships are forged with dramatic love triangles usually involving someone on an opposing team.

While Sam and Miguel thrive as a power couple in Cobra KaiWe can expect more drama in Season 5 with Sam’s ex-lover/rival Robby, who is currently the show’s resident bad boy. I bet there will be a karate-style duel next season, and frankly, that’s what I’m here for.


Both shows have absolutely bonkers character development.

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If anyone had the end of the character development stick, it was Quinn Fabray in Joy and Eli Moskowitz (also known as “Hawk”) in Cobra Kai. Where to start? Quinn starts out as a popular pregnant cheerleader, but her trajectory and logic quickly go awry. Her bizarre storylines range from trying to steal her adopted baby, to being temporarily paralyzed, to having a secret past that involves a nose job.

When we first meet Eli in Cobra Kai, he is a soft-spoken, bullied student who begins to find courage through the art of karate. It’s a good thing he’s starting to fight back, but Eli quickly loses all sense of who he is and claims a new attitude, name, and hairstyle. Like Quinn, such a hasty change is rocked, but we’ll see what awaits Hawk in Season 5…


The two shows constantly switch students to rival teams.

Fox / Via giphy.com

At this stage of the Cobra Kai saga, we know of three great neighborhood karate teams: Miyagi-Do, led by Daniel LaRusso, Eagle Fang, led by Johnny Lawrence, and Cobra Kai, now led by the menacing Kreese and Terry Silver. They all teach different karate techniques, and the students seem to come and go, depending on the drama going on in their dojo and whether they feel like being a good guy or a bad guy.

This type of format reminds Glee’s a consistent ride of show choir teams, which included New Directions, The Warblers and morally questionable Vocal Adrenaline, among others.


Both shows have ruthless adults trying to sabotage the lives of simple teenagers.

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It’s pretty hard to top Sue Sylvester when it comes to being a grown adult whose sole purpose in life is to sabotage an extracurricular in high school. However, the villains of Cobra Kai to get closer. Since Daniel and Johnny are no longer enemies, the series has reintroduced Karate Kid villains John Kreese and Terry Silver to rock the boat. These two guys are up to no good and are using aggressive karate teachings to plan the demise of Daniel and Johnny’s teams.

Similarly, Sue in Joy spends most of his time trying to disqualify New Directions from performing in anything, due to a long-standing rivalry with their teacher, Will Schuester.


Both shows lead to a final competition (usually with a celebrity guest!)

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It wouldn’t be a successful season of either show without the plot line towards a highly anticipated competition. For some reason, these competitions are usually run by a panel of incompetent judges and, strangely, feature a celebrity guest who has agreed to participate in a local high school tournament.

For example, the last season of Cobra Kai saw Carrie Underwood perform at the children’s karate tournament, while Olivia Newton-John and Josh Groban were guest judges at a regional competition in Joy.


Both shows have absurd storylines that we just accept.

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If you sometimes have the impression that the whole of Joy maybe a fever dream, you are not alone. The show had incredible musical performances, endearing characters, and great life lessons — but also a myriad of absolutely crazy stories. From Sue Sylvester trapping Kurt and Blaine in an elevator to literally every shenanigans during New York seasons, this show took us on a ride.

Cobra Kai follows suit with plenty of high-stakes drama, including when Robby accidentally pushed Miguel off a balcony and when Terry accused Cobra Kai’s business partner Kreese of assault.


Both shows are totally addictive and binge-worthy.

Fox / Via giphy.com

Although I could never practice karate or belt Rhianna in the halls of a high school, these fictional comedy-dramas have a hold on me. Cobra Kai and Joy are as addictive as TV shows – lavish musical numbers, wild karate routines, outrageous storylines, and all.

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