Ramy Season Three | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, September 21st, 2023  

Ramy (Season Three)

Hulu, September 30, 2022

Sep 28, 2022 Photography by Marcus Price/Hulu Web Exclusive
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When Ramy debuted its first season in 2019, it was fresh, different, funny and interesting. The creation of comedian Ramy Youssef, who plays the titular character, the series is about the 20-something-year-old Egyptian American living in New Jersey, where he grew up, trying to balance his Muslim faith, which is constantly put to the test, with his no-limits American setting and the generational divide between him and his parents.

Season One was magnetic and nuanced. The approachable and relatable way in which Ramy addressed the split world first-generation Muslims must traverse was accurate and understandable—even for the most removed and ignorant about the religion. Ramy is flawed and weak and makes a string of bad decisions, some so wrong that you want to physically stop him. Youssef won a Golden Globe and Peabody Award and was nominated for two Emmys, for acting and directing.

The novelty of young Muslim Americans as a “regular” person normalized by Season Two, when the character of Ramy went to the extreme trying to get a handle on his temptations, pornography in particular. He developed a deep connection with a sheikh at his mosque (a massively charismatic, Emmy-nominated Mahershala Ali), which extended to the sheikh’s devout and straight-and-narrow daughter. They get married, except Ramy cheats on her the night before their wedding, then tells her about it after they consummate their marriage and she leaves him on the spot. More and more bad decisions.

Two years is a long time to wait to see how Ramy is going to fix these mistakes and how he’s going to manage himself moving forward. Season Three kicks off with Ramy working with his deeply-in-denial gay Uncle Naseem (played by an inspired Laith Nakli) in his jewelry business, while making moves to break out on his own. It’s clear he’s determined to do better, grow up and take life seriously. Don’t read that as Ramy has now got it all figured out. He definitely does not, but he’s trying, two steps forward, three steps back.

The series may be called Ramy, but the best parts of the show are its supporting characters. Finely drawn and beautifully developed, both the scripted versions and the actors who portray them are on point. Ramy’s parents, fantastically portrayed by Hiam Abbass and Amr Waked are struggling to make ends meet. They are working as drivers for delivery apps, making their drop-offs far too personal and ruining their ratings in the process. His sister Dena (May Calamawy who gets way too little screen time) has her own existential crisis as she nears completion of law school. Fortunately, Uncle Naseem has a lot of scenes this season and his cluelessness and political incorrectness is a heady combination.

Meanwhile, Ramy’s excellent friends, diner mogul Mo (Mohammed Amer), doctor Ahmed (Dave Merheje) and Steve (Steve Way) are the true comedy gold of Ramy. Their interactions with Ramy are priceless. The brutality of their honesty and drop-dead serious delivery makes all their conversations even funnier than they already are.

It’s not all about the laughs on Ramy. Just beneath the surface is a layer of pain/frustration/confusion/anxiety that overarches the daily struggles of the characters, who are trying to be true to all sides of themselves, that elevate this series and make it an essential watch.

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 1,829/10


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