Format: Web Series
Movie Rated: 16+
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Language: English, Arabic
Digital Premiere Date: 29 May 2020
What is it all about?
In Ramy's second season, Ramy (Ramy Youssef) seeks guidance from Sheikh Ali Malik (Mahershala Ali). Ramy initially finds peace of mind and helps a military veteran in need; however, a violent altercation forces him to think more carefully about the bigger picture. At the season progresses, Ramy forms a relationship with Zainab (Maameyaa Boafo) - the daughter of the Sheikh - but hasn't fully processed the romantic feelings that he still holds for Amani (Rosaline Elbay), his Egyptian cousin.
Season 2 sees an expansion in Ramy's character as he keeps making mistakes. With excellent pacing, solid structure, and a keen sense of humour, “Ramy” finds the kind of emotional bandwidth needed by his character. It’s a smarter, better show for being so hard on Ramy, in part because it knows him well enough to not let the whole story rest on one young millennial’s shoulders.
Still, Ramy makes for an ideal portrayal of American-Muslims. Ramy is a progressive, young, Egyptian-American who’s quest for fulfilment isn’t through therapy, but Allah. Hulu’s first season saw Ramy trying to reconcile religious traditions of an older Muslim generation with the accepted customs of today; he struggled to connect with women, his friends, and his family without betraying either his faith or his own desires.
That conflict reached a crisis in the finale when Ramy travelled to Cairo to visit his grandfather, before hooking up with his cousin, Amani (Rosaline Elbay). As Season 2 starts, Ramy is in full-on repentance mode. He’s torn up over his love life (or lack thereof), his porn addiction, and his adrift, purposeless state. So, like plenty of fed-up and directionless youth before him.
Acting and direction
If Season 2 feels more addictive and supreme than the first, this is largely due to what the Oscar winner Mahershala Ali's performance adds here. Playing the role of Malik as a calm force of nature and a pure charismatic role is evident from Ali's first appearance. Ramy Youssef defines "Ramy" and excellently maps his character's journey. It is heartening to see how he portrays his character's selfishness or the terrible decisions that he takes, with such ease. Youssef, who has a writing credit on each of this season's 10 episodes and directs several, maintains a balance between softness and solemnity in the show. He remains a generous storyteller, too, giving what may be the best episode of this season to Abbass. The returning cast includes Ramy’s endearing, sometimes clueless mother, Maysa (Hiam Abbass), no-nonsense father, Farouk (Amr Waked), sarcastic sister Dena (May Calamawy) and his bigoted, diamond-merchant Uncle Naseem (Laith Nakli)
Based in New Jersey, the show plays some ethnic and contemporary songs in the backdrop of Ramy's life.
Did I enjoy it?
Yes, I enjoyed it very much.
Do I recommend it?
Yes, I recommend it. Ramy expands its commentary on faith, assimilation and coming of age in an American landscape that’s changing by the hour. Its fresh, entertaining perspective on religious radicalism, black Muslims, white converts and everything else once deemed a threat by the show Homeland, is a feat in itself.
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