Why Hulu’s ‘Ramy’ Is the Comedy We’ve Been Waiting For

A Black Spot on the Heart
Barbara Nitke/Hulu

Recently, Hulu has been out in full force with their original comedies. Like PEN15 and Shrill, Ramy is yet another coming-of-age comedy that portrays the average young adult life and their struggles with societal norms and expectations.

Created by and also starring Ramy Youssef as Ramy, the show is finally an accurate and realistic depiction of an average Muslim-American. The 9-episode series focuses on the everyday life of a person growing up with immigrant parents near New York City, and in Ramy’s case, he just so happens to also be Muslim.

What sets this show apart from other shows following religious households is that it’s not about Islam or stereotypes about Arabs, it’s about a young man trying to find his place in the world. It truly shows the life of the average Muslim-American young adult in the 21st century.

Coming-Of-Age Story for Every Young Adult

Like Hulu’s PEN15 and Shrill, Ramy is a coming-of-age story for young adults to relate with and feel heard. The only difference with Ramy is that it follows a young man who is faithful to his religion. The minor details about Ramy’s life, like pretending to drink alcohol with his non-Muslim friends, or not taking his socks off to wash his feet before Friday prayer at the mosque, are a part of Ramy’s lifelong journey in what he does and doesn’t believe about his own religion.

We even get to see a clear depiction of what it’s like being a young female American-Muslim. The divide in male and female expectations in an Arab culture is accurately portrayed when Ramy has his parents arrange a first (and chaperoned) date with a young woman.

We see female American-Muslim portrayal again when Ramy tells his parents he’s going “out” and his parents approve without question, but his sister, Dena (May Calamawy), is expected to tell her parents every detail of her whereabouts.

The Calculated Comedy

Before Ramy, Youssef was known for his comedy on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, so the entertainment in Ramy is definitely authentic. Even though Islam is the center religion for most of the characters, the show is still full of jokes about sex and drugs, because that’s what most American-Muslims joke about.

The almost-inside jokes on the show are what makes it special and relatable. American-Muslims watching a scene about confessing to pretend to drink alcohol is probably one of the most relatable things to experience, and for a non-Muslim watching, it could be an eye-opening understanding to their own unintentional judgements.

Muslim-American Portrayal

Portrayal of Muslim-Americans in TV has been extremely lacking for quite some time now, and when a Muslim actually is portrayed in the media, it’s usually to show them as the ‘bad guy.’ Having a funny, lovable character, like Ramy, helps give non-Muslim viewers a strong and more accurate depiction of the everyday life of an American-Muslim.

With the media’s recent obsession over HBO’s The Case Against Adnan Syed, a true-crime story about the murder of Hae Min Lee, it seems like their agenda is to make American-Muslim men appear aggressive and terrorizing. So, with a comedy as light and real about American-Muslims as you can get, it gives everyone a taste for what it’s really like to be a regular young adult just trying to figure out life.

Ramy, Season 1, Hulu