“Play Something,” available on the Global TV app
Created, written and directed by Nida Manzoor, We Are Lady Parts is a British sitcom that follows the humourous goings-on of an all-Muslim women punkrock band.
It cannot be overstated how much this show does right. In its 25-minute runtime, the first episode “Play Something” establishes the unapologetically quirky, raunchy and comedic vibe of the series.
One of the main draws of the show is watching the performances of the talented main cast. They seamlessly portray their characters’ distinctive – sometimes clashing – personalities while playing off each other exceedingly well. Plus, their comedic chops are on point. From witty one-liners to physicality and even over-the-top sketches, the cast does it all.
Alongside the stellar acting, the writing is very clever. Manzoor has a talent for deftly laying the groundwork for compelling plot points.
For instance, in the first episode, the show’s protagonist Amina (Anjana Vasan) is struggling to seek a husband for whom she can be a dutiful wife. Unexpectedly, she’s recruited into the band Lady Parts as a guitarist, which comes with its fair share of complications.
Without spelling it out, Manzoor builds in enough context throughout the narrative for viewers of all backgrounds to understand the social and religious implications of Amina joining the band. Clearly, by joining, her eligibility as a bachelorette will be significantly tarnished. More than likely, she’ll garner disapproval from her family, friends and community. The stakes are high, and her reputation and future are in jeopardy. Even so, Amina’s passion is music.
Granted, this kind of plotline isn’t new or groundbreaking, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s rare to see BIPOC women – Muslim women, especially – as the lead characters in duty-versus-passion narratives. By intertwining the narrative with Islam with a comedic spin, Manzoor creates a framework that’s safe from stereotyping or stigma.
Depicting an all-women, all-Muslim comedy comes with a whole set of social, racial and political challenges that aren’t even concerns for privileged and, frankly, white writers. But Manzoor navigates these challenges in addition to handling the traditional challenges that come with writing and directing a story. Manzoor is a powerhouse, and her work needs to be supported.
Plus, generally speaking, seeing that Muslim creators – both on- and off-screen – are the ones driving this project is deeply meaningful. This is what diversity looks like on-screen. Not just a BIPOC body featured in a white-centered story, but a creative project made by and for BIPOC.
Basically, We Are Lady Parts is a mustwatch show. Outside of the all-too-important need to support Muslim-centred shows and BIPOC creativity in general, We Are Lady Parts is nothing short of a delightful romp.
Published in Volume 76, Number 4 of The Uniter (October 1, 2021)