Hulu's new show "Ramy" showcases the story behind a millennial Muslim Egyptian-American living in his parent's house in New Jersey. Comedian, Ramy Youssef takes us into the life of Ramy Hassan's struggle to abide by his religious dues while at the same time compromising for the general public around a town in New Jersey. The audience is taken on a ride to witness Ramy's spiritual journey, as he goes through multiple obstacles that question his morality and his devotion to his religion. He's torn internally between living under a strict religious moral umbrella or living a life with no internal consequences.
Being Lebanese myself and living in Kuwait my entire life, almost every single minute of "Ramy" is uncannily relatable. The show depicts a life that many go through, including myself but it has yet to be represented on television screens. The Arab representation portrayed in this show is at another level, especially that it tackles the complexity of being socially accepted in an America that has a history of viewing Islam and Arab culture as a negative subject. The smallest details in "Ramy" are the ones that hit home the most, especially when it comes to his family and characters around him.
Ramy's dramatized parents, Farouk Hassan (Amr Waked), a charming and subtly goofy father that represents the patriarchal role in a traditional Muslim family, Maysa Hassan (Hiam Abbass) and Dena Hassan (May Calamawy), the over-protective mother and pressured daughter that depict double standards and loneliness. Ramy blends his real life into the show on many occasions, such as his life-long friend Steve Way, who is a comedian with muscular dystrophy that plays Ramy's abrasive pal in the show that always busts him down, teases him but appreciates him. Every character in the show is extremely personified and passionate, ranging from the stubborn uncle whose in the diamond business to the native Egyptian cousin that just wants to party. The diversity is everlasting.
In an interview, Mohammed Amer, who plays Ramy's close friend in the show "Mo" said "This is not a program about learning about Islam or learning the essence of Islam. This is not a Quranic teaching, you're not going to watch this show and all of a sudden become a Ph.D. in Islamic law or something." He states this to convey that this series is also about humanization and depicting internal struggles that everyone goes through, through the lens of Muslim and Arab characters.
Multiple episodes cover internal and external struggles such as episodes revolving around the pressure of sex before marriage, the seriousness of Ramadan, the impact of 9/11 and it's an enhancement to Islamophobia, the hypocrisy behind spirituality, double standards, strict parents, culture clash, and many other topics. The show goes into great territories to establish representation and realistic portrayals of Muslim-Americans, although with representation comes artistic pressure and responsibility. There is a sort of responsibility to cater to the entire community and get depictions to be as accurate as possible when it comes to representation, but many lives no matter where they're from go through their own unique experiences that a majority may or may not relate too.
The Washington Post posted an article celebrating and analyzing "Ramy" with the creator. In which Ramy Youssef has said he wants to "become more vulnerable and is less interested in doing a PR job of proving our humanity." He continues on to state that "the way we're similar is that we're flawed in the same way. That's what was more interesting to lead with . . . because that other stuff just feels like this sanitized commercial." Youssef provides a universal outlook on-to his show, making it appeal to everyone some-how some-way.
"A lot of people watch the episode with the uncle and they're like, I got an uncle just like that," Youssef said. "I'm not even talking about Arabs, I'm talking about, insert person, change person's race: 'My Jewish uncle's like that about Muslims'; 'my Jamaican uncle's like that about Puerto Ricans.' How do we deal with this guy?" - Ramy Youssef, The Washington Post
"Ramy" is streaming right now on Hulu, with ten fantastic episodes, and is widely critically acclaimed. This show will make you feel every emotion, it'll make you laugh, cry, and learn from all these experiences. Ramy Youssef is a pioneer for his creation, even allowing a cloud of humor to guide the entire show which is a genius way and even accurate way to depict most of the conflicts in the series. This is one of the best shows of 2019, it's progressive, diverse, has depth, and showcases a family that TV has never really shown.