Maintaining faith is a battle and Ramy delivers
I love watching TV shows and whenever I have downtime (or procrastinate) I get comfortable, eat some food, and watch. A few days ago I finished watching all my favorite shows and I needed something new. So, while scrolling through Instagram I realized that I haven’t watched the latest season of “Ramy” a Hulu original show created by comedian and actor Ramy Youssef and produced by A24. I love this show because it’s fresh, emotionally raw, funny, well-acted, and written. A brief synopsis of the show: Ramy Hassan, a 20-something-year-old Egyptian-American man, struggles with his Islamic faith and morality in his daily life in New Jersey. The show also examines the life of his friends, family, and romantic relationships in his life.
After a wild ending in season 2, in which Ramy betrays his wife Zainab by admitting he hooked up with his cousin (yep) and finally giving up on the Islamic faith. In season 3 he focuses his attention on making money as a luxury jewelry salesman and does quite well for himself. He makes friends with an Orthodox Jewish man named Yuval who is also recovering from drug/sex addiction and helps him connect with top Jewish jewelry dealers that are depicted as shady mobsters. He makes so much money that he can finally afford a fancy apartment in New York City and has a driver. However, in typical Ramy fashion, nothing good lasts forever.
Here are some stupid, ignorant mistakes Ramy made throughout the show:
- Left the compound of an Israeli jewelry billionaire to meet a Palestinian woman he matched with on Tinder
- Forgot his passport in his coat when he gets beat up by street kids in Palestine
- Reports to Israeli police about his missing passport and with American ignorance is unaware of the hostile circumstances in Israel/Palestine
- Does drugs and has sex with a hooker repeatedly
- Gets caught up in many shady sales as a salesman partnering with the high-level jewelry dealers
His family also has that stupid, ignorant attitude. They are dysfunctional, crazy, and hypocritical and in this season it really eats away at them. In certain scenes, I found myself commenting out loud on the absurdity of the actions of his family. They are all messed up and suppress their emotions while submitting to their vices. Maysa, his mother, smokes cigarettes and struggles to quit. Farouk, the father is an unemployed advertiser that keeps investing in bad deals. Dena, is mad at the world, has meaningless sex, and misses her bar exam. Uncle Naseem is a closeted gay man, that has internalized homophobia that makes him paranoid. The entire family needed therapy and at one point Dena and Maysa go to group therapy but it backfires.
Ramy’s friends are also struggling with their own issues –– Ahmed and his wife Yasmina have communication issues when it comes to deciding whether or not to have children. Mo is building his restaurant business but wants to get married. Steve leaves his problems to “the controller” and decides to live life as is. This season dived deeper into their lives and I really appreciated seeing the character arcs develop.
In the final episode of the season, everyone in the Hassan household experiences a spiritual awakening that leads them back to their spiritual connection with Allah. It was a beautiful seen to see because they all seem to actively choose God and love him and not continue the cycle of hurt, shame, and pain they’ve caused others and experienced in religion. The final scene shows them praying and reflecting.
I like this show a lot because it shows the struggle many practitioners of faith and religion experience; especially if you are a descendant of immigrants. You are not only struggling with faith but cultural differences in your upbringing. I relate to this a lot as a first-generation American from Nigerian parents and experiencing the cultural issues of being raised as African and American. I was raised Christian and went to church and was taught to pray and read the Bible. Yet, as I grew up and experienced the challenges life has offered me, I saw myself lean more liberal and become more pessimistic. After the childhood church I grew up with split up, personal problems, and world issues, I decided I would be agnostic and atheist. I was fed up with the world, my life, and religion. In my senior year of English class, I read about the effects of colonization and Christianity on the African peoples and how that continues today. Yet throughout college to the present day, I am still one foot in and out with faith. I’ve tried to church many times and given up. I still pray, but I don’t read the Bible often. I believe that I am a good person and try to make decisions that are good every day but I am not perfect.
That is why this show is popular and meaningful to so many people; it’s won a Golden Globe award. I encourage everyone to watch the show “Ramy” and experience the brilliance.