It is the age of the meta. For instance, in the new Netflix series Masaba Masaba, designer Masaba Gupta and her actor-mother Neena Gupta play fictionalised versions of themselves. While ‘this’ has been happening for a while now, at least for a few years in showbiz, it is still interesting to look at the results of such experiments. For those of you who have discovered only recently that you like this kind of self-reckoning, fourth-wall-breaking, you would do well to check out the Hulu series Ramy.
The idea of Ramy
Ramy has been written and created by American comedian Ramy Youssef, who has often said that the series is inspired by his life and what he has observed, but has been presented like an alternative reality of Ramy the artiste. The plot of Ramy revolves around one young American-Egyptian man called Ramy who is trying to find a balance between his traditions and the millennial culture. He is confused. Ramy is not a ‘proper’ Muslim, but he tries to be, sometimes out of guilt and sometimes purely because he wants to. The result is hilarious and offers an insightful glimpse into the lives of first-generation immigrants.
Modern vs Traditional
There is one big reason why the show will appeal to Indians. One of the primary debates of Ramy is going up against one’s learned values and traditions, but also trying to find a grounded home in the hustle-bustle of America. It is like keeping one foot in and out of the door simultaneously. Balancing it can be a treacherous, tiring thing. And Ramy effectively captures this constant dilemma.
Ramy first premiered in April 2019, and its second season released this year in May. It has been renewed for another reason. So suffice to say that people involved in the project know what they are doing. Especially, Ramy and the actors portraying his immediate family (Hiam Abbass, Amr Waked and May Calamawy). There is hardly any moment where you do not believe them as one bickering, dynamic unit. In fact, Ramy Youssef picked up a Golden Globe for his stellar act in the show this year. It also helps their case as Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali has joined them in the second season.
The ‘male version’ of Fleabag
People, especially those who have seen both Ramy and Fleabag, have called Ramy the ‘male version’ of Fleabag. While there are a few parallels, Ramy is its own thing. It juggles with a variety of issues and does so engagingly, without sounding too preachy about it. It talks about religion, culture, adultery, love, faith among other things. And of course, there is the golden east vs west discussion and tackling different stereotypes at all points.
Ramy is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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