‘We Are Lady Parts’ is back for season 2 and it’s an irresistible binge

Band line-up
(Image credit: Channel 4)

Nearly three years ago, the first season of “We Are Lady Parts” on Peacock was a blast of giddy energy, with six episodes of punk rock, friendship and solidarity. After a far-too-long wait, the British comedy series is back tomorrow (May 30) with six new episodes, a brief but joyous return to the world of the all-female Muslim punk band Lady Parts. My only disappointment about the season is that it’s taken so long to arrive, and is over far too quickly.

Where to stream 'We Are Lady Parts'

"We Are Lady Parts" is streaming on Peacock

Lady Parts were just getting started as a band by the end of the first season, but as the second season opens, they’ve already completed a U.K. tour and have amassed a decent-size fan base. Creator Nida Manzoor, who writes and directs every episode, smartly moves the story forward while retaining the character-focused approach that made the first season so appealing. Lady Parts may be getting famous, but that doesn’t solve any of the individual band members’ personal problems.

Although lead guitarist Amina (Anjana Vasan) is still clearly the main character, anchoring every episode with her “Sex and the City”-style narration, season 2 offers extended arcs for all four band members, plus manager Momtaz (Lucie Shorthouse). It’s a bit more balanced than the first season, which spent much of its time on Amina’s internal conflict over whether to join the band. 

Everyone in Lady Parts is now firmly committed to the band, and one of the season’s greatest strengths is that it’s always a celebration of their personal and artistic connection, even when faced with outside challenges.

The characters and the band reach new heights in season 2

Newly confident, Amina declares that she’s in her “villain era” and goes after what she wants, even though she’s not always sure what that is. She’s still pining for Ahsan (Zaqi Ismail), the brother of Lady Parts drummer Ayesha (Juliette Motamed), although she ends up dating his white co-worker instead. Romantic indecision aside, she’s more assertive and ambitious this season, and that gives the show space for the other characters to deal with their own issues.

Ayesha is happy in a new relationship with an outgoing, supportive woman, but she still hasn’t been able to come out to her parents. Bassist Bisma (Faith Omole) struggles with her self-image as a responsible wife and mother but also a rebellious punk rocker, and she’s showcased in some of the season’s most eye-catching set pieces. Band frontwoman Saira (Sarah Kameela Impey) continues to fight for Lady Parts’ integrity, even as she’s tempted by the prospect of a high-powered manager and a deal with a major record label.

Even Momtaz, who was more of a background presence in the first season, gets her own empowering arc, as she examines her place in Lady Parts’ career and the music industry as a whole. Aspects of the industry storyline feel rushed, given the limited number of episodes and their short running times, but Manzoor captures the entire life cycle of an up-and-coming band — thrilled by the prospect of stardom, then disillusioned by corporate interference.

The music of ‘We Are Lady Parts’ is essential listening

(l-r) Lucie Shorthouse as Momtaz, Faith Omole as Bisma, Anjana Vasan as Amina, Juliette Motamed as Ayesha, Sarah Kameela Impey as Saira in We Are Lady Parts

(Image credit: Laura Radford/Peacock)

During the long break between seasons of “We Are Lady Parts,” Manzoor wrote and directed the action-comedy feature film “Polite Society,” and she brings some of that grand, stylized approach to the musical sequences in the new season. The first season had its share of catchy songs, but season 2 features even more original music, including an improbably rousing number about responding to work emails at a reasonable hour.

Lady Parts is a punk band, but their original songs in season 2 feature touches of country and rockabilly, too, and they’re catchy and fun while getting across the adversity that the characters often face as Muslim women in the U.K. 

Manzoor, who writes the original songs with her siblings, also makes brilliant use of some unlikely covers: Amina brings poignancy to her solo rendition of Extreme’s “More Than Words,” Lady Parts rocks out to a hard-hitting version of Britney Spears’ “Oops!… I Did It Again” while playing a for-hire gig at a wedding, and Bisma delivers an anguished, slowed-down take on Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” while working through her family issues. The show even comes close to making Hoobastank’s goopy power ballad “The Reason” tolerable during a climactic romantic declaration.

Each song is presented via elaborate musical sequences, with magical-realist touches that make their way into the non-musical scenes as well. Bisma’s tension with her daughter is represented by a remote control that allows her to literally pause family arguments to vent her frustrations, and Saira’s potential censorship by the band’s new label manifests itself in her voice being forcefully silenced.

Those heavy moments never drag “We Are Lady Parts” into sad-com territory, though. This is a comedy that always remembers to be funny, delivering consistently clever jokes while staying true to its characters’ lived experiences. Bingeing the new season may only offer a short window of time to spend with those characters, but it’s worth savoring every minute.

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Josh Bell

Josh Bell is a freelance writer and movie/TV critic based in Las Vegas. He's the former film editor of Las Vegas Weekly and has written about movies and TV for Vulture, Inverse, CBR, Crooked Marquee and more. With comedian Jason Harris, he co-hosts the podcast Awesome Movie Year.