North Texas Daily

‘Ramy’ season 2 opens show up to new characters

‘Ramy’ season 2 opens show up to new characters

‘Ramy’ season 2 opens show up to new characters
July 08
13:47 2020

I’m a huge fan of this wave of comedy television we’re getting recently. This is the kind of television that has plenty of creative freedom and doesn’t feel forced to focus on one specific character every single episode or even have them in it at all. “Ramy” is very much that kind of television. This might come as a surprise since the show is literally called “Ramy,” where Ramy Youssef plays a fictional version of himself. The series, streaming exclusively on Hulu, follows American millennial Ramy Hassan living with his family in New Jersey, who struggles to balance his lifestyle and faith. The second season doesn’t rest entirely on Ramy’s shoulders, though. Even though the narrative feels more than comfortable diverting its attention for an episode or two (or three, or four) to Ramy’s family and friends, it never feels scattered or lost. I think that structure works here. 

Season two is as ambitious as ever. The narrative really hones in on Ramy’s friends and family. Every family member (even extended family, at one point) gets their moment in the spotlight. The season kicks off to four narrative-driven episodes focusing on Ramy and his new Sheikh (Mahershala Ali), then expands to its supporting characters once again. Each episode following Ramy’s family members follows their personal and even suppressed struggles. One of the strongest episodes this season focuses on Ramy’s father (Amr Waked) and his experience with recent job loss. I might even argue that the show is at its sharpest when focusing on its smaller characters. 

At its center, the series is about morality. Kind of sounds odd and serious considering this a comedy series, but we all know it can be more than that. I’m a firm believer that the best comedy shows always have been. Every character, though not always aloud, is asking themselves if what they’re doing is right. In one episode, Dena Hassan (May Calamawy) questions her decision of posting on social media about receiving a scholarship after she fears the “evil eye” will punish her for boasting her accomplishment. In another instance (trying not to be too spoilery here), Ramy voices hesitation when his friends go to a strip club to celebrate. In response, they call him out for having sex before marriage which is, they say, a sin. If he’s already committing one sin, then what’s the difference in doing both? These are the kind of virtuous questions that are constantly thrown in Ramy’s face throughout the season. 

What’s refreshing about “Ramy” is it often doesn’t let its characters off the hook. The show has always been tough on Ramy because he needs to learn a thing or two. Throughout the series, and especially in its sophomore season, Ramy’s character has been thrown in uncomfortable situations and presented with tough choices. Ramy isn’t perfect, and he makes some questionable and honestly controversial decisions that are difficult to justify. This is abundantly clear towards the end of the season, especially in “Atlantic City” and “You Are Naked in Front of Your Sheikh.” Ramy doesn’t always make the right choice but his actions almost always have repercussions. Ramy, for better or worse, strives to be a good person and a good Muslim, even though the people in his life don’t give him credit for it. 

I could listen to Ali talk for hours on end about literally anything. This season blesses its viewers with two-time Oscar-winner Ali as Ramy’s new mentor and Sheikh. Sheikh Malik’s addition to the show is perfect and is exactly what the mentor Ramy needs. It’s a hard pick, but I think Ali puts out the best performance this season. Honorable mention to Hiam Abbass and May Calamaway, as well. Of course, Yousseff does fantastic in the titular role. Not only is Yousseff starring in the show, but he’s also producing, writing and directing it.

No matter where the show’s attention diverts to, keep in mind that this is Ramy’s show, and always has been. 

Final rating: 4/5

Featured image: Courtesy Hulu

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Dawson Turner

Dawson Turner

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1 Comment

  1. Grammy
    Grammy July 08, 15:09

    Written like a pro.

    Reply to this comment

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