In the US: Available on Hulu In the UK: Not yet acquired
When was the last time you saw a US TV programme with a Muslim lead in a show that explored what it was like to be a Muslim in modern America? Off the top of my head – and discounting shows with supporting characters who happened to be a bit Muslim but never really ever brought it up except to point out that they weren’t all terrorists, you know? – I’d say the last one was the much missed Aliens in America.
A mere 11 years later, we now have Ramy, written by and starring Egyptian-American Muslim stand-up Ramy Youssef. It, too, is a comedy, which suggests that there are certain things in the US that can still only be broached through comedy.
In it, Ramy plays a thinly veiled version of himself, Ramy Hassan, who still lives at home with parents and still hasn’t found the right woman – right for either them or him. He’s initially dating a Jewish woman, but since he’s moderately religious, he’s been covering up most of his less party-friendly restrictions to himself – something that doesn’t please her when she finds out (“You said the other day that you couldn’t drink any more because you were up to your limit!” “Well, I was. It’s just my limit is zero.”)
Suffice it to say, he’s soon spurred on by his friends, family and people he meets at the mosque into dating a Muslim girl for the first time. Except he soon discovers that comes with its own set of issues (“Do you want her to be covered or uncovered?” his mother asks, when he suggests she set him up with a date).