Ramy Youssef, Dave Merheje, and Mohammed Amer in “Ramy”, When we meet Ramy, he’s approaching 30, working a go-nowhere job, and still living with his parents.
They’re like, I’m not feeling connected to anything, I’m feeling controlled. It makes for a snapshot of quaint domesticity where everyone blindly goes through the motions. A: I’m generally a positive person, but I’ve had my ups and downs as I’m sure we all have. He does have views that I disagree with, and if I can at least open his eyes a little then I will feel accomplished during this time.
Instead, she was going out for the role of a 20-something law student who wants to move out of her parent’s place in Jersey. And this is something we’ve spoken about for the ongoing seasons. What is that hunger? But one of the more striking elements of the first six episodes is the camaraderie between men and the value placed upon supportive friendships. Ramy’s relationships with his friends, including the white, non-Muslim Steve (Steve Way) who has muscular dystrophy, largely function as a chorus to his self-pitying. Check out the trailer for season two below: What We Can Learn From "Mrs. America" — And Why The ERA Fight Must Continue, In "I Was Lorena Bobbitt," Dani Montalvo Sheds Light On Modern Day Domestic Abuse During Quarantine: BUST Interview, Sydney Sweeney Talks New Film "Clementine," "Euphoria," And Other Career Highlights: BUST Interview, A Vulva Owner’s Guide To Peeing Outdoors (And a Few Bonus Tips for Penis Owners, Too), Fiona Silver’s “Love Potion No. But Youssef’s disjointed treatises do not address ethics. Ramy’s sister, Dena (May Calamawy), gets a half-hour all her own after leaving an impression on the outskirts of the early episodes. By clicking “I agree” below, you consent to the use by us and our third-party partners of cookies and data gathered from your use of our platforms. I love the idea of not wasting energy on something that doesn’t interest you. And by the time I was 25 — I moved, my mom passed away, and something switched off in me. A: I want to continue to take on roles that force me out of my comfort zone, challenge me and push the envelope the way my role on Ramy does. What’s it like to explore those different sides of her? Season one is aspirational — [Ramy’s] on this path of self-discovery — and then season two is transformational, where he is like, oh, this is who I am, I have to deal with myself. I noticed how that manifests in me is not a dip in my mood, but my energy. Did it feel scary to do an episode about your own alopecia areata? If we've achieved anything, I hope that the show acts as like a catalyst for people to shine a light on their own stories and their idea of what it is to be Muslim. “Corona just made it an easy decision for me,” she says over our Zoom conversation. Frequent questions about God, such as his existence, nature and impact on society, are likewise never challenged.
'Ramy' star May Calamawy, who plays Dena Hassan on the Hulu series, opened up about how her struggle with alopecia areata inspired a storyline in season 2 in an exclusive interview with InStyle. I had just hid it from people, but now I’m at a place where if I had a bout of alopecia, I’d be like, embrace your alopecia right now, it is what it is. I think sometimes audiences can conflate one experience of a Muslim woman (or any unrepresented character) and understand the portrayal as “The Experience of Muslim Women.” Is that something you think about when portraying Dena and if it is, how do you deal with that? I love working with Hiyam [Abbass, who plays Dena’s mom], so anything with her, but especially when we got to bond in the car. I was so confused about it and it was very uncomfortable for me going into season two with it. They’re bros, and “Ramy” explores their trials and tribulations in similar fashion to HBO’s “Girls” (though without any of the sporadic criticisms). Were there any scenes you shot this season that stood out to you? It’s here where the ideology of the show - if it has any - grows even more muddled.
Indeed, the show’s best two episodes focus on each of his parents. She was someone that I saw 10 years ago in a movie, and I was like, “Whoa, I wish she could be my mom in something.” And the fact that it actually happened is really weird for me. I noticed how that manifests in me is not a dip in my mood, but my … Please enable cookies on your web browser in order to continue. I was lucky as I moved to the US when I was 17, which helped develop my independence, while Dena is still living at home and hasn’t lived anywhere else. A: It gave Dena a different lens to look at her mom through, a more human lens, rather than seeing her as this person who is meant to just be her caretaker. I wanted to show how there are different areas in life that we can get agency for women.
Ramy spends a lot of time with his friends Ahmed (Dave Merheje) and Mo (Mohammed Amer). It’s the first time in years she’s found a routine again: waking up early enough to find time for herself before spending it with her little nephews, meditating, journaling, praying. Other than that, I love finding different ways to move whether it’s working out or dancing, taking walks in nature, playing the piano and have been taking Spanish classes for nearly 5 months. The moral conundrums that defined some of the best long-form TV drama of the past two decades - from The Sopranos to Mad Men and Breaking Bad - are absent. That’s the most prominent example of the series looking to expand its perspective, but there are moments scattered throughout where Ramy is smartly challenged, and Dena’s isn’t the only impressive standalone arc. I would say that in the first season I didn’t really feel like I could use my voice as much because this was the first bigger role that I had gotten. On the other hand season 2 is transformational because we’re seeing him actually deal with who he is. A: I’m getting more and more interested in creating stories from scratch.
Do you think it’s inevitable that the show would start confronting issues more head-on? Youssef has stated in interviews that he chose to write and depict the community he grew up in, the community that he knows. She has such an intoxicating magnetic energy and is so free in real life and her work. In season one, she starts to try to examine what she understands about womanhood and wants to step out of that comfort zone to redefine her identity. The series also gets into the gender divides instigated by tradition and religious law. It made me think of my mom and question if she felt fully accomplished.
How was it actually acting out that storyline? But that’s not the case at all. So, what does it take exactly to be a good Muslim? Q: You’ve mentioned before that you originally went to school to study industrial design because you initially thought it was interesting until you realized it wasn’t and dropped it to pursue acting. But because they were small roles, there wasn’t a lot of room for me to discover layers in the characters. Episode 4, “Strawberries,” flashes back to Ramy at age 12, as he starts to explore his budding sexuality… right before 9/11 happens and attitudes toward Muslim Americans are forever changed. The show has been a success. He tries (and fails) to abstain from drugs without separating himself from people who enjoy a bit of ecstasy. He never had to face anything — besides his name being Muhammad, there’s nothing else — no microaggression, no instance that involved race. Youssef cuts his hero no slack, insisting that his humanity - and by default that of the Arab-Muslim community - can only shine through his shortcomings and wrongdoings. Learning how to take more space, knowing what it means for her to really be a woman, and if that means being able to make her own decisions no matter what, and us seeing that, no matter who thinks they're right or wrong. I actually watched her in Amreeka over 10 years ago and I remember thinking “I wish Hiam could play my mom in something.” It’s surreal that now she is and I always remember that while I’m working with her. And so I look at what Dena goes through and I’m not judging her, I’m not mad at her. It feels really special. A: Season 1 is aspirational in the sense that we are watching his journey of self discovery. Mahershala Ali’s character calls it out gently in the show. Religion plays different roles in every Arab community, including Muslim ones. Yet these too play out as mere ornaments to Ramy’s central story. At the same time I am energized by the momentum and the fact that this time I feel meaningful sustained change is finally coming. Its second season launched in May 2020. The Dena-centric episode in season two, “3riana Grande,” pales in comparison to last year’s stunning “Refugees,” which offered an intimate look at how May Calamawy’s character faces misogyny. We’ve been in situations where the camera isn’t on us and we’re dying of laughter, which isn’t always helpful to the people we’re acting with who have to deliver serious performances. Ramy’s spiritual journey is largely one-note, and one during which he neither questions nor doubts his moral code or his embrace of Islam. That’s what this is all about. I used to protect myself the way she does, but I found that that protection leads to more pain and feelings of being stuck. Season two of Ramy runs with this idea, trying to shed light on different facets of Islam via Mahershala Ali’s imam, a charismatic, composed figure in contrast to the habitual portrayal of the fanatical preachers found in Arabic and non-Arabic media alike. I’m feeling great, and feeling bad, because I’m aware that there are people who lose their whole head of hair. And here’s the thing: I love that. Together, they are more honest, realistic and superior in their artistry than the rest of the show combined. After a failed stint at a tech startup, Ramy finds work with uncle Naseem (Laith Nakli), an antisemitic pompous nouveau-riche jeweller who blames Jews for everything that is wrong with America. So when we had that, it was so nice and fun to do and just felt like a breath of fresh air.
“We all lie,” he says. I have to do this for myself.” For any woman who can resonate with what I just said, I think finding that independence is really is the freedom. You might end up doing something wrong and that ends up bringing you closer to God.
Thus, while sex and alcohol are cast as the pillars of sinful, unIslamic behaviour the reasons behind this are never questioned nor examined.
Q: Ramy strikes a more serious tone in season two. You also agree to our Terms of Service. A post shared by May (@maycalamawy) on May 27, 2020 at 2:00pm PDT. And Ramy knows that he created an unlikable character. © Middle East Eye 2020 - all rights reserved. What did that process look like? Sign up for our Email Newsletters here. Ramy’s May Calamawy Is Ready for Dena to Make More Mistakes Maham Hasan 6/22/2020. So then, at a later age, I’m like, why am I coming of age in my 30s? But the broader Arab-American narrative is far more complex and richer than Ramy’s streamlined anecdotes.
The doing of it is not easy, obviously, but no one doesn't want to hear your story. “But I was raised with it; it’s fully programmed in me. Even more broad in characterisation is Bin Khalied (Egyptian-Dutch actor Omar Metwally), a wealthy Gulf investor who makes a habit of drinking the breast milk of a retired Lebanese porn star (Mia Khalifa) to cure himself from his sex obsession, before telling Ramy that he sold his own brother to Yemen in a business deal.