Episode 3 of the We Are Lady Parts, entitled “Earth Natives,” humanizes several background characters while making the lead annoying throughout in ways that I could not possibly foresee. Amina’s portion of the storyline focuses on how she is having to live two separate lives. One life represents her friendship with her best friend, who is planning an engagement party. The other life is represented by her time with the band and how she feels about that freedom to play the music that represents her. At the same time, the band is warming up to her as an official member, but going back-and-forth between being a part of the engagement party and playing in the band is taxing on Amina’s health.
All of the moments involving the back-and-forth track between Amina’s two lives are played for laughs. None of it is really, truly funny, just tragic. She feels like her community wouldn’t understand her passion for music, and I understand that there are cultural boundaries that would be crossed by her admitting to her enjoyment of playing music. Having said that, she overplays the difficulties she is faced with, and it comes across as forced and fake. While these actions don’t necessarily make her unlikeable, they do make her hard to root for.
However, the episode is saved by Saira because to cure Amina of her anxiety from living a double life, she and the rest of the band take Amina to an open field to smoke and be free from stress. Saira’s kindness here demonstrates that these ladies with a hard edge musically have a soft gooey center emotionally. Sarah Kameela Impey should earn an Emmy nomination based on the scene involving her couples dinner with Wasim (Demmy Ladipo), Abdullah (David Avery), and Bisma (Faith Omole). During the dinner, she reveals that her parents were in a loveless marriage for 30 years, and her sister, who was someone older than her, died when she was 10 years old. This explains her continuous gruff exterior, and that brief bit of exposition came about from a discussion about kids being a part of each couple’s future.
This episode works because the characters are willing to be vulnerable with each other, and the writer smartly allows any of the characters to fail rather than just the lead or her best friends. This episode teaches us that success is never an insured thing and that believing in yourself is the best way to ensure you can succeed in the future. All of the women learned this the hard way, but I think that’s what makes it watchable because Ms. Manzoor knows the journey is more important than the destination.
There are no clear destinations for these characters, and I think, unlike normal television series that have to have that resolution by the end of the season, I would be OK with not knowing where they are going next as long as I get another season of stories. The writer individually writes to stories, not an overarching idea. This gives each character a chance to shine and have their voice and their personality be heard and seen on screen, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a show that focuses its story that way. Long may work like that continue because these are excellent characters to learn from. While they may not play Sound Smash, they may just do something even better, which teaches the world acceptance of everyone through the power of music.