10 Reasons “Cobra Kai” And “Glee” Are Kind Of The Exact Same Show


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

I don’t know about you, but my high school experience was far less eventful than the show choir students of Glee’s New Directions or Cobra Kai’s karate-chopping kids of Miyagi-Do.

With Glee slated to stream 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 bare a striking resemblance. Buckle up. It’s going to be a wild ride.

1.

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


Netflix / Via tenor.com

Gleeks will recall that Will Schuester is the OG overzealous educator, who continuously evokes a love-hate relationship among viewers. On one hand, he is his pupils’ biggest fan and cheerleader, but on the other hand, he raps “Ice Ice Baby” and does things like blackmail students into being in the glee club.

Enter Cobra Kai’s Daniel LaRusso, the karate kid all grown up, and we see just as much drive and ambition to ensure his students succeed — though not without a price. Like Schuester, LaRusso lives in the past and often puts pressure on his proteges to live out his dream. Both shows are jam-packed with high school drama, and for some reason, both teachers are always wildly involved.

2.

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


Fox / Via tenor.com

While pursuing a competitive activity like karate or show choir is sure to come with pressure and drama, both Cobra Kai and Glee take things to the extreme. Remember when Rachel Berry sent her competition, Sunshine Corazon, to a crack house because she wanted to remain the best singer in New Directions? Or when all the kids would throw slushies at each other, and Blaine got temporarily blinded? 

While Kobra Kai‘s karate-chopping counterpart nixes 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. 

3.

Both shows use the appeal of nostalgia.


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

Similarly, Glee finds some of its heart in bringing back popular hits of the past, ranging from Michael Jackson to Stevie Wonder to Britney Spears. Throughout the show’s six seasons, we also saw a ton of musical guest stars including Ricky Martin, Carol Burnett, and Gloria Estefan.

4.

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


Fox / Via tenor.com

Every high school clique has to have a reigning king and queen, right? In Glee, Rachel and Finn are usually the romantic pair wearing this badge of honor, though we also meet equally dynamic duos in Blaine and Kurt and Santana and Brittany. Since it’s high school (and since it’s television), these romantic relationships are wrought with dramatic love triangles generally featuring someone from an opposing team. 

While Sam and Miguel are thriving as the power couple in Cobra Kai, we can anticipate more drama in Season 5 with Sam’s ex-lover/rival Robby, who is currently the show’s resident bad boy. I’m placing bets that there will be a karate-style duel next season, and frankly, I am here for it.

5.

Both shows have absolutely bonkers character development.


Netflix / Via tenor.com

If anyone got the short-end of the character development stick, it was Quinn Fabray in Glee and Eli Moskowitz (also known as “Hawk”) in Cobra Kai. Where to begin? Quinn starts out as a popular pregnant cheerleader, but her trajectory and logic quickly go awry. Her odd storylines range from trying to steal back 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 great thing that he begins to stand up for himself, but Eli quickly loses all sense of who he is and boasts a new attitude, a new name, and a new hairstyle. Like Quinn, such a hasty change is jolting, but we will see what lies in store for Hawk in Season 5…

6.

Both shows consistently have the students switching over to rival teams.


Fox / Via giphy.com

At this point in the Cobra Kai saga, we’re privy to three major karate teams in the neighborhood: Miyagi-Do, run by Daniel LaRusso, Eagle Fang, run by Johnny Lawrence, and Cobra Kai, now run by the menacing Kreese and Terry Silver. They all teach varying karate techniques, and the students seem to switch back and forth, depending on the drama happening within their dojo and if they are feeling like being a good guy or a bad guy.

This type of format is reminiscent of Glee’s consistent merry-go-round of show choir teams, which namely included New Directions, The Warblers, and the morally-questionable Vocal Adrenaline. 

7.

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


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It’s pretty hard to top Sue Sylvester when it comes to being a full-grown adult whose sole purpose in life is to sabotage a high school extracurricular. However, the villains of Cobra Kai come close. Since Daniel and Johnny are no longer enemies, the series has re-introduced Karate Kid villains John Kreese and Terry Silver to rock the boat. Both of these guys are up to no good and use aggressive teachings of karate to plot the demise of Daniel and Johnny’s teams.

Similarly, Sue in Glee spends most of her time attempting to disqualify the New Directions from ever performing in anything, due to a long-standing rivalry with their teacher, Will Schuester. 

8.

Both shows lead up 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 building toward a highly-anticipated competition. For some reason, these competitions are usually run by a panel of incompetent judges and, strangely, feature a major celebrity guest who has agreed to take part in a local high school tournament.

For example, the latest season of Cobra Kai saw Carrie Underwood performing at the kids’ karate tournament, while Olivia Newton-John and Josh Groban were guest judges at a regionals competition in Glee.

9.

Both shows have absurd plot lines that we just accept.


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If you sometimes feel like the entirety of Glee might’ve been a fever dream, you’re not alone. The show had some amazing musical performances, endearing characters, and great life lessons — but also a myriad of absolutely wild storylines. From Sue Sylvester trapping Kurt and Blaine in an elevator to literally all of the shenanigans during the 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 framed Cobra Kai business partner Kreese for assault. 

10.

Both shows are totally addicting and binge-worthy.


Fox / Via giphy.com

While I may never take up karate or belt Rhianna down the hallways of a high school, these fictional dramedies have a hold on me. Cobra Kai and Glee are as addicting as TV shows come — lavish musical numbers, savage karate routines, outrageous plot lines, and all.


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