Ramy | A Popcorn & Cornflakes Review
Updated: Jul 16, 2020
It has been a long time since we had a new article up on the website! Apologies on the wait but we do have new content to share. We watched both seasons of Ramy which is a Hulu original series. This show is semi-based on Ramy Youssef's life growing up in the Tri-state area. Let's dive into our spoiler free review of the series!
Ramy being a show centered around a first generation Muslim-American helped me realize how similar immigrant stories can be. The cultures are vastly different but the struggles are identical. I think the depiction of Muslims in the media is limited. It lacks authenticity and paints them as villains at times. Ramy gives a full scope on how people from a culture that is quite beautiful manuever in a country that side eyes their existence. Season 1 and Season 2 had such different tones, we need to look at each of them for the growth of the universe within Ramy.
We start season 1 with Ramy navigating the dating world as a young Muslim man in America to fill a void within him. This is the central plot point of the season. The emptiness within him controls his decisions as he searches for a feeling of wholeness in his life. Each love interest reflects where he is currently in his journey within himself and his faith. This is used to display his inner conflict with religion and how that translates to numerous areas of his life. It also shows how he needs to unearth a genuine connection to Islam on proper foundation instead of his pseudo belief system he is operating currently.
Ramy's decisions throughout parts of season 1 come back to bite him when he least expects. I think it makes Ramy so relatable and human. There is no such thing as a perfect protagonist and that is why we keep coming back for more. Ramy has a bad habit of not thinking things through and yearns for outside acceptance. At times, it would appear Ramy gets better but no. He does not. Not at all.
As we approach the end of season one and Ramy's journey to a deeper connection with his faith, we see some episodes centered around members of his family. One episode is focused on Ramy's sister (Dena) and the other is his mother (Maysa). This show is male dominated and having the female perspective for a few episodes was a needed reprieve from the usual format. Dena is the typical younger sister who is treated differently from her brother due to cultural reasons. His mother is a typical example of an immigrant mom figuring out her own place in a country that is foreign to her. There are some cringeworthy moments when it comes to her character interacting with people from different races and gender identities. Sadly, this is a reality to numerous people and it needs to be shown for people to understand this is not appropriate behavior. I do think that it is important to exhibit this because we can work to correct behavior only when we show why it's work.
Ramy makes a journey to Egypt to reconnect to his roots. It is always fascinating seeing the contrast between American born characters interacting with those who grew up drastically different. The culture clash was evident which Ramy totally uncomfortable in his new surroundings. One thing to note is how outsiders can view Trump and how dangerous it can be. Ramy's Uncle loves Trump because of how he runs the country even though Trump has displayed Islamophobia. It feels like a parallel universe but the world is a place full of things which don't make sense. In Ramy's mind, he placed Egypt on this pedestal as a restorative place when it is a place with the same issues as everywhere else. It is a sad realization but something we need to note in our lives. We cannot pass off the work to other person or place. It will always come back to us. Ramy will head back to America feeling as lost as he was in the beginning of season 1 as if it were a full circle.
Season 2 of Ramy has new characters notably led by Mahershala Ali. To be blunt, season 1 is light in comparison to season 2 which got dark/serious rather quickly. There are real consequences for Ramy's actions from both season 1 & 2. Ramy is under the Sheikh properly learning the foundational pieces of Islam. Let us breakdown season 2 more thoroughly and how we are introduced to Mahereshala's character.
We find Ramy in a dark place dealing with his addiction to pornography and junk food. During his period of dismay, one of his friends suggests he goes to see the Imam from the local mosque. It was not a good experience for Ramy. He is then referred to a new Sheikh by old friend who works at a new mosque. Finally, Ramy has found a place to study Islam with a charismatic Sheik who believes in him. It is going to be a breeze this season right?
Ramy has taken a step forward in his religious practices but his focus becomes rather singular. His life seems to be about making strides in the Sufi Center and nothing else. While Ramy is doing his religious journey, his interactions with his family and friends becomes overwhelming. They are adjusting to this new version and they are tired of him already. During his transformation with the Sheikh, his family and friends are undergoing their own trials to overcome.
We have two episodes based around the ladies again (Maysa and Dena) and two around Ramy's father & uncle. Pivoting away from Ramy helps build the universe even more. I will say the episodes with Farouk and Naseem will tug at your heart strings. You will see the lengths people go to protect their family and placement in the world. It is also good to see how masculinity can be so fragile in every culture and what we need to do to rectify that.
As we return back to Ramy, we understand his love interest in this season has manifested through methods they shouldn't. I would say Ramy has an obsession of relying on outside validation to fill the void within him. This leads to him disappointing even more people in the latter portions of the season. He tries to do good but he misses the mark. The issue is when he misses, it is a calamity and it leaves a massive imprint.
To conclude, Ramy is a fantastic series. It has two seasons with plenty of lessons for people to learn from. I will admit it left me questioning my own journey in life when it comes to a handful of things. We are looking forward to more from Ramy's journey into becoming the best version of himself.
You can watch Ramy on Amazon Prime and Hulu. Season 3 has been approved and we might see it in 2021 or 2022.