(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Series: Ramy
Where You Can Stream It: Hulu
The Pitch: Ramy Hassan (creator and Golden Globe winner Ramy Youssef) is like every other struggling millennial stuck living with his parents in a New Jersey suburb. He’s working a job at a tech start-up that will totally take off any moment, he just wants to date and go to parties every Friday night, and his hitched friends and family keep asking him about when he’ll get married. But he’s also a devout Muslim trying to figure out the balance between spiritual fulfillment and getting laid. But as Ramy learns through the funny, irreverent, and refreshingly authentic Hulu comedy series, there is no easy answer.
Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: In the post-Master of None era, there seemed to be few shows that could just as perfectly capture that displaced immigrant millennial experience. Or there were just too many Girls knock-offs that try and fail to become the next irreverent generational comedy, that you become wary of picking up yet another show about a sardonic 20-something who is feeling a little lost in life. So Ramy came and went last year, passing under almost everyone’s radar until star and creator Youssef unexpectedly won the Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy. One of Hulu’s most underrated gems, Ramy is a sharply written and refreshing millennial comedy that is one of the rare shows to sincerely delve into how faith and spirituality can influence a young person living in an increasingly shallow world. Also, it’s funny as heck.
With his chill, lethargic way of speaking and an abundance of beanies and hoodies in his wardrobe, Ramy Hassan could get easily mistaken for your typical 20-something stoner. In fact, he often is, which leads to awkward conversations about Ramy’s surprising devotion to his Muslim faith, which forbids him from drinking alcohol. Unlike most of his friends and some of his family, Ramy strictly abides by this rule, as part of a resolution he made to be a better Muslim. Working a tech company job he doesn’t care about and hanging with a circle of friends who are really quite rude to him, Ramy is at a loss for where to go with his life and tries to turn to faith to point him in a new direction. The next expected step would be marriage, which his parents eagerly arrange for him, but Ramy is not yet ready to give up his lifestyle to settle down with a nice Muslim girl. And why are all the nice Muslim girls he’s getting set up with actually not nice at all?
Ramy follow the title character as he navigates through two cultures, in a complex, funny, and soulful series that frankly explores the rarely-depicted world of Muslim-American immigrants. Youssef draws from his own experiences to craft the misadventures of Ramy, a first-generation Egyptian-American who finds himself caught between his devout Muslim-American community and the fun-loving American millennials that he grew up with. Not since Master of None has the displaced immigrant experience been told with such authenticity and such tongue-in-cheek humor. Ramy is the spiritual successor to Aziz Ansari’s acclaimed Netflix comedy in many ways, but with less pretense — it’s not trying to be important, but just trying to give us intimate insight into one young man’s messy, bumbling, confused life.
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