This article contains spoilers throughout Season 1 of Ramy.
Hulu’s new series Ramy depicts a fictionalized version of the life of its star and co-creator, Ramy Youssef (named Ramy Hassan on the show), a Millennial Egyptian American from a robust North Jersey Muslim community. Along with the co-creators Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch, Youssef explores the complexities of being a religious man from an immigrant family with wry humor and a dash of surrealism.
The series swings from topic to topic with ease: the ennui of living at home as a young adult; the misguided ways first-generation kids romanticize their family’s homelands; the difficulty of coming of age post-9/11. Also dispersed throughout the season are depictions of Ramy’s various relationships with women, both platonic and romantic, as he seeks a partner. In these scenes, the show reveals a more myopic perspective through its disparate treatment of Muslim women, characters often boxed into stereotypes with no recourse to develop as fully realized individuals.
In the pilot episode, written by the trio of creators, Ramy goes on a first date with a Muslim woman named Nour (Dina Shihabi), courtesy of his mother’s machinations. Despite his low expectations, the date goes well, with the pair making plans to see each other again. Those arrangements, however, are upended by an intimate encounter gone comically wrong, when Ramy is taken aback by the lustful forthrightness of the woman he was initially charmed by. Incensed by his hesitation, Nour pointedly calls out what she considers the limited capacity Ramy expects her to occupy: “I’m in this little Muslim box—I’m supposed to be the wife or the mother of your kids,” she says. “But I’m not supposed to come.”