Ramy is brilliant. There, enough said. There have been very few, if any, shows or movies about Muslims and Muslim Americans, nonetheless a whole series focusing on a young man who is stuck between his homeland and his religious backgrounds, and the millennial life he currently leads in America.
Ramy Youssef is one of the top comics right now and like plenty of comics before him. He got his own dramedy series that really zeroes in on his personal life and struggles, and as a result, the struggles of plenty of young Muslim Americans as well.
Essentially, to perfectly sum up, it’s about the awkward situation or place younger generations find themselves in when it comes to both adhering to religious and old-school values while growing up in an environment that is completely different. With Ramy, as he often says on the show, he prays on Fridays while still going out clubbing Friday nights.
From the outside looking in that might seem like a perfect balance. You’re doing everything right, living the young life while still not forgetting about your roots. It’s this incredible, tough internal struggle that informs and highlights the brilliance of Ramy.
And it transitions to different aspects of Ramy’s life, to his friendships, to his relationships with his parents and grandfather, to even being confused about being attracted to, and like his own cousin. Ramy is a complete mess, and it’s fascinating to witness, as well as being extremely relatable. Ramy is around 30 years old and exclaims he’s still struggling to figure things out.
He knows there are strict rules and codes with his religion, and he’s stuck in the middle of two different lifestyles that are ready to tear him apart. This is all zeroed in with the final episode. Ramy decides to travel to his home country of Egypt to go visit his grandfather, whom he hasn’t seen in a long while.
He wants to finally understand his purpose in this world, where he sits with being Muslim if he should fully embrace the old-school lifestyle, or be fully American. He can’t be in-between anymore, as it’s destroying him internally. The episode starts out in comedic fashion with jokes being made about Ramy being attracted to his cousin, going on an awkward car ride that isn’t anything like the car rides we take in America.
It finally concludes with Ramy seeing his grandfather, who passes away right after before he’s able to share some of his knowledge and wisdom with Ramy. It’s darkly ironic, dark humor at its very finest. When Ramy feels like he’s close to finding out the truth about himself, about finally learning and finding out what he needs to do next.
How he should finally move on and start a brand new life, it gets taken away from him. It gets even worse when he decides to hang out with his cousin after his grandfather’s funeral. The two have amazing chemistry, that much is obvious, and he tells his cousin that he came all the way out to Egypt to figure things out.
But he ends up even more confused and in a bigger mess when he kisses his cousin, ending the first season. He’s in a worse position than where he started out. What this might say is that Ramy, for now, might not ever find the right answer for himself. That this internal struggle, being raised a Muslim American in a highly progressive society will always doom him to this internal struggle, to this conflict of trying to live two lives.
When he goes looking for answers, the situation only gets worse, a sign that might say he needs to embrace this double lifestyle. It’s this acceptance, this acknowledgment that this is what Ramy’s life is now. And if he doesn’t embrace that, he’ll continue to find himself in even more weird and awkward situations. It’s honest, relatable, and one of the best and most refreshing new series out right now.