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We Are Lady Parts' Second Act Is Even Better Than Its First

Nida Manzoor's BAFTA- and Peabody-winning comedy returns, as singular and vital as ever.
  • Sarah Kameela Impey, Anjana Vasan, Faith Ompole, Lucie Shorthouse, and Juliette Motamed in We Are Lady Parts (Photo: Peacock)
    Sarah Kameela Impey, Anjana Vasan, Faith Ompole, Lucie Shorthouse, and Juliette Motamed in We Are Lady Parts (Photo: Peacock)

    It's been three long years since Nida Manzoor’s We Are Lady Parts first arrived on our screens — the delightful new sitcom was one of the few highlights of 2021, a cursed year for most of us. Well, good news and bad news: 2024 is providing plenty of reasons for despondency, but at least we now have Season 2!
    The sophomore outing sees the titular punk band Lady Parts, formed entirely of Muslim women, riding high on a national tour, albeit one that only netted them £200. And there are plenty of reasons to feel hopeful: their online following is growing, record executives are paying attention, and Amina (Anjana Vasan) is no longer subject to stage fright-induced vomiting. The next step is to record a proper album, but well-paid gigs are thin on the ground. Over the six episodes, we see the band deciding what compromises they are willing to make to enter the big leagues, and they discover it was a lot easier not to be a sellout when no one was buying.
    But unlike the band who has to compromise on their vision, hawk ugly fashion lines, and perform Britney Spears songs at wedding receptions, Manzoor’s show feels just as singular and vital as ever. The original songs are wall-to-wall bangers (particular praise must go to the catchy feminist anthem calling out a co-worker named Jim for expecting email responses outside of reasonable working hours), the cast’s comic timing is impeccable, and most impressively, over just six short episodes, each member of the band has a moving emotional arc that pays off in satisfying but unexpected ways.
    Amina’s love life is still a mess, but after spending Season 1 desperate to get married, she’s decided on a new approach and has entered her “villain era.” And while last season she was desperate for more male attention, this season she’s coping with too much and is concerned that her form of villainy isn’t “halal”. Bisma (Faith Omole) is struggling with how, as a black mother, she is not getting the same level of attention as the rest of the group and not truly seen as a true punk rocker while the ludicrously cool frontwoman Saira (Sarah Kameela Impey) gets to meet her idol (played by British comedy icon Meera Syal) and struggles with feelings of inadequacy. 

    Manager Momtaz (Lucie Shorthouse) has set her sights on accomplishing more than just Lady Parts’ success and works to nurture a wider community of young Muslim women’s musical talents which naturally leads to even more banging tunes. But far and away, the more exciting and stunningly performed arc belongs to Lady Parts’ drummer Ayesha (Juliette Motamed), who is now loved up with her girlfriend but struggling with being openly queer.

    What is so great about her storyline is its cultural specificity, both around her girlfriend’s well-meaning liberal parents who are delighted to display just how accepting they are of their daughter bringing a punk rocker in a hijab to dinner, but also in that the storyline doesn’t cater to the white lens. In a different show, it would be clear that this would pay off with coming out via a tearful monologue followed by some hugs of acceptance, but We Are Lady Parts has more up its sleeve and knows that Ayesha’s relationship with her sexuality, faith, and family is going to require some nuanced navigation.
    It's hard to find much to criticize in a show as endearing as this one, where each cast member is given space to shine and make you even more invested in their happy-ever-afters. We Are Lady Parts’ second season is even better than the first, and given the last one earned a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes as well as multiple BAFTA and Peabody Awards, that is no mean feat. 

    If there is any bitter aftertaste, it's only that in 2024, the subjects of this series should not feel as unique as they do. When Meera Syal, who created the hit UK sitcom Goodness Gracious Me back in the 1990s, appears, it does seem to be a symbolic passing of the baton to Manzoor, but that further reinforces that in Britain, there remains this idea that there can be only one at a time. But hopefully, the TV landscape will take a page out of Momtaz’s book and realize just how much cool stuff could be put out if only some more British Muslim women’s talents were given a chance to shine. And if that doesn’t happen, or if they dare make us wait three years for another season of We Are Lady Parts, the only option is to embrace our inner punk rockers and riot.

    We Are Lady Parts Season 2 drops May 30 on Peacock. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.

    Leila Latif is Contributing Editor to Total Film, the host of Truth & Movies: A Little White Lies Podcast and a regular at Sight and Sound, Indiewire, The Guardian, The BBC and others. Follow her on twitter @Leila_Latif.

    TOPICS: We Are Lady Parts, Peacock, Anjana Vasan, Faith Ompole, Juliette Motamed, Lucie Shorthouse, Nida Manzoor, Sarah Kameela Impey