Review of “We Are Lady Parts”: the representation switches to the comedy Peacock
“Our music is a question of representation. It’s about being heard, ”says Saira (Sarah Kameela Impey), the lead singer of the band giving the new import comedy Peacock. We are lady pieces his title. Saira’s explanation for why she plays music is pretty trite out of context – what aspiring rock, pop, or hip-hop star hasn’t expressed a similar sentiment before in fiction? But once you understand that Lady Parts are an all-female, all-Muslim punk band in London, Saira’s battle cry about the importance of representation becomes key to the show’s enormous appeal.
Representation matters in storytelling for both altruistic and practical reasons. It is a fundamental social good for the public to meet people who look like them and who look like them in the stories they consume, and also for people from other groups to be exposed to characters who are not like them. at all. But doing TV shows, movies, and books about the types of characters that aren’t usually there is also creatively smart. He can often breathe new life into every outdated plot twist just because of the nature of the people involved. ABC made a lot of comedic hay in the 2010s with shows like Fresh off the boat and Mute, where squeaky sitcom hijinks suddenly felt new because no one had told them through the eyes of first-generation Taiwanese-Americans or a family with special needs, respectively.
We are lady pieces has its moments when everything old becomes new again, like when the future guitarist of the band Amina (Anjana Vasan) asks a platonic friend to pretend to be her date at an engagement party, then surrenders account that they play the plot of the film Debra Messing The wedding date. But the backgrounds of Amina, Saira, and their band mates – surly drummer Ayesha (Juliette Motamed), gentle bassist Bisma (Faith Omole) and ruthless manager Momtaz (Lucie Shorthouse) – create comedic tension in almost everything. the scenes.
These are Muslim women trying to make their voice heard in a genre that hasn’t always had a place for them and doesn’t appear regularly on the playlists of their friends and family. It’s not what everyone expects from them, especially the pathologically shy Amina – she initially throws up with stage fright when she tries to perform in public – whose goals before meeting the group are to get his doctorate in microbiology. and settle down with a husband, as she believes any good Muslim girl should. So every space they step into feels like hostile territory, whether it’s Saira entering in confidentiality or Amina being dragged down while looking confused and scared of how she got there.
The show’s creator and director, Nida Manzoor, is well aware of the clashes inside and outside the group. Lady Parts is a true melting pot of the British Muslim experience, from Saira wearing short sleeves to show off her tattoos and working in a halal butcher shop, to Momtaz keeping her face widely covered while selling sexy lingerie for her. day job. Even though Amina tries to portray herself as more traditional, it’s clear that she and her parents are a lot weirder than she’d like to admit, and some of the best jokes on the show involve her mom and dad sharing. excessively when they meet each potential new husband. .
And make no mistake: it’s a very funny show, with a cast of versatile and playful artists. Anjana Vasan is a particular delight, with an innate understanding of how to make small changes in expression, intonation and posture laugh simply. As a very reluctant new member of the group, she’s meant to be our entry point into their world, and she’s all the show needs. . But everyone does well with their different corners of the world, like Faith Omole’s unwavering enthusiasm as Bisma tries to explain the comic she’s writing alongside, a horror story about women who become homicidal maniacs when they are menstruating. (“Thought Handmaid’s Tale meetsRugrats
! She said to some potential readers.) Amina also has a vivid imagination, which allows Manzoor to put Vasan and his co-stars in fantastic sequences that echo famous pop culture tracks like
. For one thing, the true versions of the characters are so instantly vivid that the show would probably do well to stick with them. But it becomes another example where the shift in perspective – in this case, having Vasan channel Ingrid Bergman – is entertaining in itself.
Fictional musicians are generally easier to convince than fictional comedians, and for the show to work, we have to believe that this group is sounding good enough that Amina is won over by the familiar and safe life that she is. Imagined. There’s a scene in the second episode where she rejects a man who dumped her as “Bashir with the right beard”, and moments later the whole group improvises a song with that line as a chorus. On the one hand, it sounds too instantaneously for any band, let alone a punk quartet rehearsing in garages and butcher’s shop. On the other hand, you’ll be happy to have it in your head or days later, which is ultimately more important. It’s not much of a spoiler to say that despite her many reservations, Amina ends up enjoying being part of the group. This hugely satisfying first season won’t take that long to make you feel the same way. Peacock releases all six episodes of
We are lady pieces on June 3rd. I have seen the whole season.