Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 June 2020

What to expect from 'Ramy' season two: a Mahershala Ali cameo and a Muslim 'pop culture moment'

Two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali will guest star in an episode the upcoming season

Actor Ramy Youssef is bringing a second season of his hit show to Hulu this year. AP
Actor Ramy Youssef is bringing a second season of his hit show to Hulu this year. AP

While many of us have been trying to get friends and family to watch Ramy since the show came out in April last year, it might only be now – after its lead actor and writer Ramy Youssef took home a Golden Globe – that our advice will be heard.

The Egyptian-American actor was announced as the winner of the award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for his performances in his semi-autobiographical comedy show Ramy at Sunday's Golden Globes ceremony in Los Angeles. “Thank you so much. Firstly I would like to thank my God, Allahu Akbar," Youssef said, after he stepped on stage to receive the award.

But for us devoted viewers who are up to speed with the groundbreaking Hulu sitcom, we luckily have the impending second season to look forward to.

A second season of Ramy was given the green light in May last year, but little details of what we can expect have been released since. Here's what we know so far:

What can we expect from 'Ramy' season two?

Well, hopefully, as it did the first time around, the next season will keep subverting and redirecting our expectations about Muslim America. The success of the show is down to how it touches on topics we’ve seen tackled before on screen, but in a refreshingly down-to-earth way.

Western TV portrayals of Muslims have not generally been overflowing with humour. Bomb vests, oppressed women, heinous plans for global domination? Sure. But humour? As comedian Youssef put it when he went on The Late Show with Steven Colbert to promote season one: “I’m Muslim. Like from the news. Have you guys seen our show?”

Instead, the comic chose to do something that shouldn’t warrant a mention, but does: he made a show about a regular guy, who happens to be Muslim. For instance: Ramy’s sister Dena bemoans how her parents treat her differently to Ramy, but it’s a petty family squabble, not a topic for an after-show Q&A. We are also privy to Ramy’s unsuccessful attempts to fast in Ramadan, his ruminations on joining Muslim Tinder, and the bullying he faced at an American middle school after 9/11.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Youssef promised that season two will have even more comically realistic moments depicting Muslims in America.

“We haven’t had a pop-culture moment. We haven’t had open conversations the way that this show does – and I think that the nature of that, within the Muslim community, at least, will definitely start conversation,” he said.

So far, we’ve seen only one clip from the upcoming season, released by Hulu on Twitter. It shows Ramy with his arms stretched to his sides, riding on the back of Steve Way’s wheelchair. Way, who has muscular dystrophy, is Ramy’s co-worker in the show and his real-life best friend since the fourth grade.

Who will appear in the 2020 season?

Well, as far as we are aware, the cast regulars will return. That means we should be seeing more of Palestinian comic Mohammed Amer, Canadian stand-up Dave Meherje, Israeli actress Hiam Abbass and Egyptian actor Amr Waked. But we can also expect at least one exciting Hollywood cameo, too.

Two-time Academy award winner Mahershala Ali was confirmed in July to star in an episode in the upcoming season. Hulu announced the news on the Television Critics Association press tour, saying that Ali was a "huge fan" of the show.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07: Actor Mahershala Ali attends The BAFTA Tea Party at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Phillip Faraone/Getty Images/AFP
Actor Mahershala Ali is set to make a cameo in 'Ramy'. AFP

When will it air?

We don’t have an exact date of when season two will be released, but we do know that it's coming soon. The show is expected some time in the US spring (between March and May) of this year.

Will the Globes win have an impact on the new season?

Perhaps, but it seems like Youssef isn't letting the hype get to him. In fact, he seems to simply appreciate the buzz the first season has generated, and breaking through Muslim stereotypes.

“Getting an email from a guy who’s like ‘I’m a father of three and I’m Mormon and I feel like I am Ramy’,” Youssef said on the Golden Globes red carpet. “I had no idea that that connection was happening. And to hear from people all over the [United States] all over the world … Our show gets bootlegged [pirated] a lot. It’s exciting.”

He continued this conversation at a backstage press event at the Globes.

“The show is called Ramy,” Youssef said. “Part of why we picked that is we didn’t want to call it ‘Muslims’ or something that would blanket a group of a billion people. It’s a really specific story, a story of one Egyptian family in North Jersey.”

Where can we watch the second season?

Again, we're not exactly sure, but we expect it to follow the same path as season one. Ramy is exclusive to Hulu, however, the streaming service is not available outside the US and Japan. In the Middle East, the show is showing on Wavo, an online streaming platform from OSN.

Updated: January 6, 2020 04:09 PM

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