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Jesse Kove on the ‘perfect balance’ of Netflix’s ‘Cobra Kai’

March 2, 2021
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Jesse Kove in a scene from Cobra Kai's third season as 'David,' a character who bullies the young 'John Kreese' (Barrett Carnahan) seen here with Emily Marie Palmer ("Betsy"). Kove's father Martin portrayed 'Kreese' in the original 'Karate Kid' films and reprises that role on "Cobra Kai," the hit show which brings the Karate Kid story up to date. Jesse Kove in a scene from Cobra Kai's third season as 'David,' a character who bullies the young 'John Kreese' (Barrett Carnahan) seen here with Emily Marie Palmer ("Betsy"). Kove's father Martin portrayed 'Kreese' in the original 'Karate Kid' films and reprises that role on "Cobra Kai," the hit show which brings the Karate Kid story up to date. (Image courtesy of Netflix)

“The Karate Kid” franchise is alive and well in season three of “Cobra Kai,” the hit Netflix martial-arts comedy-drama series based on the original films and starring a number of the original players.

Picking up 34 years after the original 1984 movie, “Cobra Kai” sees a rekindling of the rivalry between Daniel portrayed by Ralph Macchio and Johnny, portrayed by William Zabka, after the latter reopens the Cobra Kai dojo originally founded by John Kreese, portrayed by Martin Kove. Kreese’s history is examined via flashbacks in the show’s third season, with the young Kreese character portrayed by Jesse Kove, Martin’s real-life son.

The viewership numbers for “Cobra Kai” are staggering. According to Parrot Analytics, a platform that analyzes viewership data, the program currently has 60.3 times the demand of the average television program in the U.S. To date, upwards of 73 million people have seen the show on Netflix.

During an interview with The Maine Edge, Jesse Kove (“David”) comments on the show’s success, discusses working with his father, and gives us a preview of an upcoming documentary he’s involved with that he hopes will bring about real change for families blocked from seeing terminally ill loved ones.

The Maine Edge: How does it feel to be part of the hottest show anywhere right now?

Jesse Kove: There is a strange feeling that comes from being part of the number one show on the planet. I’m ready for it, but it’s extremely humbling at the same time. Since the first two seasons were so successful, I kind of knew how big the show was going into it, but you don’t really know how big it is until you’re in the middle of it. People are obsessed with this show around the world.

The Maine Edge: What do you think it is about “Cobra Kai” that resonates with so many millions of viewers?

Jesse Kove: I think nostalgia plays a role. There’s a lot of love for the original movies and the original cast. Then you have the new age with the new kids that have come in and you have this interesting storyline surrounding karate, and elements of the show that deal with teen bullying and what teens deal with on a daily basis.

Also, the writing is just so good. The writers are fans of the franchise, so they know what the audience wants. It’s not really a politically correct show, it kinds of breaks those walls which is really nice.

There’s a very human element to “Cobra Kai,” and I think people respond to that. There’s no crazy CGI, no gun violence, no blood and gore. It’s nice that people can watch this show with their families and be as tuned in as they are.

The Maine Edge: We see you as David in flashback scenes from the 1960s where you’re being a bully to your father’s character. What has that experience been like for you?

Jesse Kove: It’s kind of wild. They did this flashback sequence in the second episode this season where the writers wanted to throw the audience off. I basically became my dad for the beginning of that episode because they wanted people to think that I was him. I say these lines like “You don’t show your opponent mercy” and “We’re going to kick the butts of this other football team” and all of a sudden, a busboy comes in, I have the girl on my arm, the jock jacket on and I pull up in my convertible. Then you realize I was actually bullying the younger version of John Kreese, who’s the busboy. He and I get into this huge street brawl at the end of the episode. They wanted to show that Kreese himself was actually bullied at one point. It’s like this perfect circle of life where everyone has their own story.

By the way, most people don’t know that the car that I drove in that scene was the actual Ford that Mr. Miyagi gave to Daniel in the original “Karate Kid” movie. It’s a really cool little Easter egg that the writers wanted to throw in.

The Maine Edge: Since your dad is so closely associated with “The Karate Kid” and has been part of this show since the end of the first season, did he give you any advice going in?

Jesse Kove: We talk about the show all the time, we break down the success and we talk about what works. We kind of teamed up when this happened, and he’s always been such a huge support. We lean on each other in a beautiful way in the father and son relationship that we have. It’s a perfect balance as you would say in “Karate Kid” (laughs).

The Maine Edge: Is it true that you made your own movies when you were a kid?

Jesse Kove: (laughs) That is true. I used my father’s old camera and little toy soldiers that he gave me and I made these little movies that I would show to the family. It was a fun part of being a kid.

The Maine Edge: What can you tell me about your involvement with an upcoming documentary about one of my heroes, the late Casey Kasem?

Jesse Kove: His daughter (Kerri) is a dear friend, and she was part of this battle over his conservatorship when he was alive. I was there for all of that stuff and filmed a lot of what happened in court. I think the documentary will bring a lot of light to a situation that many families face when they are shut off from being able to see their loved ones. I was able to meet him before he passed, and he was such a lovely man, he was really an American icon. He has an incredible story and it should be told. I’m excited for people to finally see the truth of what happened at the end of his life because it affects millions of people in this country.

Last modified on Tuesday, 02 March 2021 05:53

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