1 Cobra Kai Character Has A Strange William Zabka Movie Connection
Cobra Kai, which features William Zabka from the original The Karate Kid, features another character from a different Zabka film. Shannon Keene (Diora Baird), otherwise known as Johnny Lawrence’s ex and Robby’s mother, is a character throughout the Cobra Kai series, although her screen time is limited. She is known in the early seasons for her irresponsibility and absence in Robby’s life, despite being his only present parent. She opts to go to bars and pick up men more than care for her son when audiences first meet her. In addition, she leaves for most of season 2 of the series, returning in the end and vowing to go to rehab and be a better parent.
Season 3 and 4 of Cobra Kai show Shannon making good on her promise to go to rehab, and she develops as a character. Shannon, though not central to the main plot of the show, grows into a more mature and present mother and gets involved in Robby and Johnny’s lives, even stepping in to warn Johnny about Terry Silver’s connection to Robby.
It is clear that Johnny and Shannon have some level of on-screen chemistry as their relationship shifts throughout the series. This could be because Zabka and Baird are comfortable playing a couple, as they have done it before.
In addition to Cobra Kai, both actors have other films under their belt, namely Hot Tub Time Machine. Both actors played very small roles in the film, with William Zabka’s playing Rick, and Baird as his girlfriend, who does not even get her own name. The two are seen betting on a football game in 1986, just two years after the original All-Valley Tournament in The Karate Kid. While most lines go to Zabka, Baird is integral to the scene. It seems that Zabka and Baird are meant to play an 80s couple.
Diora Baird Has Played Two William Zabka Love Interests
Just as interesting as the pair being cast in totally different roles together is the fact that they are love interests in both universes. Since their romance in Hot Tub Time Machine takes place in 1986, two years after Daniel Larusso and Johnny Lawrence face off in The Karate Kid, audiences who spot them together in the film get a peek at what Johnny and Shannon may have been like when they first met. The 80s parallels in the film and Cobra Kai are uncanny aside from Zabka’s bushy mustache. This makes it easy for viewers to imagine Johnny and Shannon in a time before the Cobra Kai timeline and their separation.
How Diora Baird’s Two William Zabka Love Interests Are Different
Although there are parallels between Cobra Kai and Hot Tub Time Machine’s portrayal of William Zabka and Diora Baird’s fictional coupling in the 80s, Baird’s two characters are quite different from one another. Rick’s girlfriend only gets to speak briefly in the scene, but what viewers do hear from her is her pleading with Rick not to make any more bets to which he tells her to shut up. This is a very different dynamic than in Cobra Kai as she seems to answer to Rick and may be the responsible one in their relationship. Shannon, on the other hand, struggles to be responsible in Cobra Kai and definitely doesn’t take orders from Johnny. The other clear difference is that the couple is still together in Hot Tub Time Machine whereas Johnny is with Carmen in Cobra Kai.
Needless to say, the Zabka and Baird duo is an intriguing one that seems to occur naturally. Their relationships in both Cobra Kai and Hot Tub Time Machine show that the actors go way back and are good at playing into their 80s identities, despite the relationships being wildly different from the movie to the series.