The Karate Kid is a pop-culture phenomenon that resonates with an entire generation. Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) learned Karate under the wise Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), stood up to his bullies, and learned about finding balance in his life.
40 years later, Cobra Kai reintroduces Daniel LaRusso from a different perspective. Cobra Kai tells the story of Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), an antagonist in The Karate Kid, and his impression of Daniel LaRusso. For Lawrence, LaRusso was a relentless pest, always seeking to make his life miserable.
In Cobra Kai their feud gets passed down to their karate dojo’s and their own children. The show balances each character’s perspective of the other and reveals that neither is truly the hero or the villain.
Mary Mouser Reveals the Worst Part of Being a LaRusso
Mary Mouser plays Samantha LaRusso in Cobra Kai, Daniel LaRusso’s teenage daughter. Sam gets caught up in Daniel and Johnny’s feud and develops a few divisive relationships with members of the Cobra Kai dojo herself.
In an interview with Cinema Blend Mary Mouser revealed what she finds hardest about being a LaRusso. She told them:
The comments are not always so kind to the LaRussos. Some of them seem to think that we’re the real bullies and that we’re the villains all along. I hear that one quite a bit… it comes with a little bit of a toll. The energy it takes me not to go [online] and respond ‘But what about all the other people? What about everyone else who made a bad decision, it’s not just me!
Sam Has Made Some Mistakes
Even though Mouser is correct that everyone else on the show makes bad decisions, Sam has a fair share of her own. She creates a love triangle and unwittingly pits Miguel and Robby against each other.
Additionally, throughout Season 1 Sam struggled to find where she fit in at school. In an interview with Crooked Llama Mary Mouser spoke about figuring out her character for Season 1. “She has a good heart and she came from a good upbringing, she knows right from wrong but I feel like there’s that part of her that gets overpowered by the fact that she just wants to feel cool and to fit in,” Mouser said.
During Cobra Kai Season 3 Sam decides that Miyagi-Do needs to stand up to Cobra Kai. Before she and several Miyagi-Do students confront Cobra Kai students at the laser tag arena in Season 3 Episode 5 Sam says “this is our chance to fight back.” During the fight, the Cobra Kai students mercilessly beat the Miyagi-Do students and Dimitry gets his arm broken.
Being a LaRusso Has Some Perks
Mary Mouser said that one positive to come from her role as Samantha LaRusso was her newfound relationship with Ralph Macchio, according to Crooked Llama. She said that Ralph was very fatherly towards her on set, explaining that “I literally had to have him come kill a bug in my apartment because I was too scared. When I had a cold, he was texting me to stay inside, stay warm.”
She also told the publication that Macchio and Zabka have done a good job of passing The Karate Kid down to the next generation. She said “they really did an amazing job of not making it feel like we were intruding on anything or that we could mess anything up. They did a great job of making it so welcoming.”