Cobra Kai: The 13 Best Johnny-vs-Technology Moments, Ranked

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<i>Cobra Kai</i>: The 13 Best Johnny-vs-Technology Moments, Ranked

Even though the latest season of Cobra Kai has introduced an entirely new side of Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka)—one that can reconcile his past with rival Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio)—some things will never change about the beloved slacker. He may be a killer at karate, but he’s an absolute futz with anything technological. Ranging from an endearing goofball to a creepy stalker, Johnny’s dad-like capers with Facebook and smartphones are some of the funniest parts of Cobra Kai.

Firstly, you can’t run a dojo without a little bit of online promotion. Although Season 1 of Cobra Kai introduces Johnny as one who entirely neglects computers and the internet, by Season 2, he’s working on expanding his online presence. He even invests in a swanky new cell phone—though it doesn’t last very long. In this most recent season, Johnny not only learns that he can plug in a laptop to keep it going, he grapples with an ex on Facebook, and navigates digital flirting via Messenger. With trusty Gen Z sidekick Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) by his side, Johnny’s ready to face the internet. Maybe.

Though a TV series all about karate may warrant a ranking of every fight scene, Cobra Kai’s brilliant technology scenes call for an utterly different kind of ranking. So, rather than listing off his best kicks or punches, here are Johnny Lawrence’s funniest interactions with the internet.

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13. “What’s a Facebook?”

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Season 1, Episode 9

Johnny doesn’t dabble with many gadgets in the first season of Cobra Kai, but Daniel does introduce him to Facebook. When the unlikely duo grabs drinks near the end of Season 1, Daniel rattles off some facts about high school fling Ali Mill’s (Elisabeth Shue) new life. When Johnny accuses him of stalker behavior, Daniel explains that he saw it on Ali’s Facebook page.

“What’s a Facebook?” Johnny replies, befuddled. Ah, ignorance is bliss. This is only the beginning of Johnny’s Facebook escapades.


12. Owning The Internet for Dummies

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Season 2, Episode 3

This detail is brilliant. Johnny doesn’t even know how to search Google to learn about the internet. When’s the last time they updated this book? Probably not anytime near 2019, when Johnny purchased it.


11. Concert Photos with Miguel

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Season 3, Episode 5

This one’s more endearing than it is funny, but a notable entry nonetheless. In an effort to break Miguel’s paralysis, Johnny takes the kid to a Dee Snider concert. They snag a few selfies featuring some ridiculous tongues-out poses, and Miguel posts the photos to Facebook and tags Johnny. Happy to see his first mention on Facebook, Johnny cracks a toothy grin at the photos. While Johnny can teach Miguel all about martial arts, it’s up to the youngster to guide his sensei through social media.


10. Johnny’s Answering Machine

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Season 2, Episode 10

You can tell a lot about someone based on their answering machine—Johnny’s is no different. Miguel calls him in the finale of Season 2, and is met with the pre-recorded message. “Hi there, you have reached the smartphone answering machine of Johnny Lawrence, sensei of Cobra Kai Karate.” Love that he clarifies it’s his “smartphone’s answering machine,” in case the caller forgot. And he includes his sensei status, which just goes to show how proud he is of Cobra Kai.


9. Selecting a Profile Photo

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Season 3, Episode 6

Ah, the most daunting task of social media: the profile photo. This can make or break any social media pages. Recognizing how pertinent this is, Johnny retrieves some of his finest photoshoot pics. Tan, buff, and covered in body oil, young Johnny looks like a total 80s stud. Not sure why he would use these ancient strips of film as a profile photo in 2020, but it was an honor to see these images.


8. The First Message Sent to Ali

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Season 2, Episode 8

After Johnny finally establishes his Facebook profile, he’s finally navigating the internet with ease—kind of. Like Daniel hinted at in Season 1, Johnny’s high school girlfriend Ali Mills-Schwarber is active on Facebook. Johnny locates her, peruses her profile, and opens Messenger. Without a comma in sight, he rattles off a message to her. “I just signed up for Facebook its an app on my smartphone,” he types. How flirtatious!

Though he doesn’t mean to, Johnny sends the message to Ali as he slides the phone back into his pocket. Nothing like a good butt-dial.


7. Posting Photos to Impress Ali

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Season 3, Episode 6

After Ali sends Johnny a friend request, the macho man is sent spiraling over his social media presence. Should he post videos of karate? Old photos or new photos? In an effort to snatch her attention, Johnny uploads a few photos. He’s looking spiffy reading a book, posing in front of a mural, and pondering over some art in a museum. These are definitely things that Johnny does in his day-to-day life. Okay, maybe not. It’s a little artificial.


6. Accidentally Liking All of Ali’s Photos

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Season 3, Episode 6

Thinking Ali won’t be notified as he interacts with her Facebook posts, Johnny mistakenly likes all of her images. Miguel informs him that’s not the case—yes, Ali can see when he stalks her profile, because he’s liking every image along the way. Whoops.

“What the hell, man?” Johnny says when Miguel expresses his secondhand embarrassment. “I enjoyed the photos. And there’s a button for exactly that. Why would I not click on it?” Well, he’s not wrong.


5. Throwing His New Smartphone into the Ocean

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Season 2, Episode 10

When your son and mentee have just fought to the death, what else is there to do? Upset with his life, family, and karate career, Johnny hurls his smartphone into the ocean—or at least, it looks like he does. But he misses, and his phone lands safely in the sand, revealing that friend request from Ali. But why would you throw your phone into the ocean? Why not try selling it back for a little cash? He must be channeling Rose from Titanic.


4. Buying His First Computer

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Season 2, Episode 3

Johnny’s computer is his first big purchase in the technological realm, and the whole sequence is top-notch comedy. In Season 2, he’s finally ready to delve into the internet, looking to purchase a laptop and install WiFi in the dojo. Instead of heading to the Apple or Microsoft store, Johnny attempts to exchange some of his old magazines for a computer at a pawn shop. It’s not the worst idea, but he’s short a few hundred bucks.

He buys a Dell. Unable to turn it on back at the dojo, he treks back to the pawn shop. “The kids from my dojo said to get an Apple, you sold me a lemon,” he shouts, jabbing the side of the computer to turn it on. You actually have to open the laptop to turn it on, Johnny.


3. Composing a Long, Heartfelt Message to Ali…

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Season 3, Episode 6

Johnny actually drafts two responses to Ali after she sends him a message asking him what he’s been up to. The first, typed in all caps, details every reaction he’s had to pop culture moments over the last 35 years. He gives film reviews, responds to the O.J. Simpson case, and more shenanigans, all truly irrelevant to his relationship with Ali. Luckily, Miguel catches this before Johnny has the opportunity to hit send, suggesting Johnny send a shorter message to show how chill he is.

Without Miguel around, Johnny composes a second message. It’s shorter, though still a little long. It’s heartfelt. He talks about being a sensei, and all that’s changed over the past 35 years. It’s the perfect message for Ali.


2. ...and Then Promptly Deleting All of It

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Season 3, Episode 6

But the message doesn’t last long. Just as soon as Johnny has composed the perfect message to win Ali’s love, he deletes all of it. Without a moment to think, Johnny crafts a succinct response to Ali’s question: “Not much, u?” Though it may not be as eloquent as either of his first drafts, this is certainly the most Johnny Lawrence text ever sent.


1. Johnny’s First Google Searches

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Season 2, Episode 3

Johnny’s first moments with a working computer are full of pure bliss. He realizes he has the world at his fingertips—even if it takes another call to the pawn shop (“This isn’t the Geek Squad!”) to figure out how the internet works. His WiFi name is “Cobra Kai” and his password “Strike1st,” inspiration if you’re ever looking for a good username and passcode. And what’s Johnny’s first Google search? Naturally, it’s “hot babes.” He’s such a gem.

Johnny searches for some more hot babe content, then jumps into searching about the 1988 martial arts film Bloodsport. Of course, he lands on a conspiracy pop-up that promises to tell him “the truth”— that dinosaurs built the pyramids. After poking around YouTube for some karate videos, he’s forced into watching an advertisement for Daniel’s Miyagi-Do. Frustrated, he slams the laptop shut.

That’s enough internet for tonight, pal.

All three seasons Cobra Kai are currently streaming on Netflix.



Fletcher Peters is a New York-based journalist whose writing has appeared in Decider, Jezebel, and Film School Rejects, among other spots. You can follow her on Twitter @fietcherpeters gossiping about rom-coms, TV, and the latest celebrity drama.

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