'We Are Lady Parts' - TV Review

"We Are Lady Parts" is a short new British TV series (six episodes) about a group of young Muslim women in London who form a punk band. Our point-of-view character is the straight-laced and nerdy Amina (Anjana Vasan), the final recruit to the band. The band's leader is Saira (Sarah Kameela) - charismatic, burning with rage, and filled with determination. She recruits Amina to play lead guitar for them - despite Mina's stage fright/anxiety that causes vomiting and diarrhea.

Some cosmic force was at work with my getting into this right after watching "The Go-Go's." The latter movie is proof positive that every fictional trope you've seen about bands - the weird ways they come together, the bickering, the inspiration, the disintegration, the reunion - is all true. And both that movie and this TV series are about all-female punk bands. Different country, different generation, but the similarities are still remarkable.

There's a massive divide in TV between the shows that run 50 minutes and the ones that run 25 minutes. 50 minutes allows actual character development. 25 minutes means that every personality trait is exaggerated, and the characters come on screen the first time blazing out their insecurities and quirks. "Lady Parts" runs 25 minutes. So Amina comes on screen tripping over her tongue, her parents embarrassing her at every turn as she stumbles through the ritual of talking to a young man for a possible arranged marriage. It is, inevitably, a disaster. All the other characters are introduced in much the same way because we need to "get to know them" quickly. Several critics have commented on how successfully the series has avoided stereotypes: this is true, but I find the overblown personality traits nearly as painful and annoying in their own way. As the series progresses, all the characters are humanized and given more depth - but, particularly in Amina's case, their behaviour also shifts to make them a bit more appealing and realistic.

With all that negative stuff out of the way, let's get to the positives: the series has a fairly positive tone and is screamingly funny. Some of the jokes and scenarios they bring are predictable, but even those are generally well done. Some of the other jokes come out of nowhere and ring so true to the characters and circumstances that they're irresistible. Humour is always a very personal experience, but apparently this is working for a lot of people: as of now, it's at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Peacock's trailer is representative of the humour, and this isn't one of those trailers where you've seen all the jokes once you've seen the trailer. This will tell you if you want to see it or not - give it a try.

While I wasn't too keen on the band's original music, their choice of soundtrack for the series was excellent. Among these, there was still a stand-out: their utterly brilliant "Wayne's World" reference using The Proclaimer's "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)." And they were also doing a side-line in movie references, the other two obvious ones being "Pitch Perfect" (with Amina's performance vomiting) and "I'm just a girl, standing in front of ..." from "Notting Hill." It makes me wonder how many more I missed.