Nothing says punk rock like dismantling the patriarchy. Peacock’s We Are Lady Parts, all-female Muslim punk outfit, is a quietly revolutionary comedy, inviting us into the age-old story of found family and fitting in when you’ve always been taught to see yourself as different.
Created by Nida Manzoor, We Are Lady Parts is the origin story of its titular band: Saira (Sarah Kameela Impey), Ayesha (Juliette Motamed), Bisma (Faith Omole), and Momtaz (Lucie Shorthouse). The pilot sees them finding their fifth member: Lead guitarist Amina (Anjana Vasan) who suffers debilitating stage fright (there’s vomit involved). The first season aired in the U.K. in May and is now available for U.S. audiences on Peacock.
The six episodes are a gift and barely enough to satisfy an immediate, undying love for these characters. We Are Lady Parts is so consistently, powerfully charming that the only thing to do after finishing episode 6 is to start episode 1 all over. There are obvious comparisons to Peacock’s own Girls5eva, but Lady Parts‘ punk rock sensibility feels like Birds of Prey in sitcom form. The riotous soundtrack is now available so you can bump “Voldemort Under My Headscarf” all summer long.
The title of that banger aptly summarizes Lady Parts‘ irreverent yet loving voice. The show knows and tells us that there’s a difference between “Fuck traditional values” and “Traditional values? Fuck that.” Everyone in the band feels connected to Islam in their own way, ready to integrate art, criticism, and revolution into their faith and culture. There is little argument spared on whether it’s appropriate for the women to play in a band for fun or profit — Amina’s parents are refreshingly in favor — because it’s not a long argument: Yes, girl, rock on.
Seeing five women of color lead a comedy less interested in gawking at their identifiers than exploring their inner lives feels truly revolutionary. There have been shows about the Muslim diaspora, but often family-oriented or with a male protagonist. Lady Parts is committed to its lady parts; five richly different, intricate female characters who find happiness and solace in the music. There simply isn’t enough time in six episodes to give everyone equal screen time and backstory; the stories we get are thoughtful and varied, if a little rushed, and the ensemble chemistry shines.
Seeing five women of color lead a comedy less interested in gawking at their identifiers than exploring their inner lives feels truly revolutionary.
Vasan proves to be a master of tone and timing, elevating enjoyable scenes to laugh-out-loud levels whether through on-screen performance or dramatic voiceovers. Shorthouse employs similar technique with her eyes and voice, making acting in a niqab look easy. Impey and Motamed embody the careless cool of their characters, first through Amina’s eyes but then through ours, and Omole’s Bisma buoys every scene she’s in. There are wonderful pockets of magical realism à la Jane the Virgin, including Amina and her crush as a black-and-white romcom, punctuating the series more frequently early on and then leaving a palpable void when they’re gone.
The main critique for We Are Lady Parts remains that it is too short. I want eight episodes, or 10, or 50. Finishing the first season feels a lot like performing a stage gig; you won’t remember every detail but you’ll remember the feeling, a rush of joy and adrenaline that you were grateful to share with this motley, magnificent crew.