Taskmaster is the most beautifully insane series on television, and though it’s no longer airing on The CW, the full eighth series is now streaming on CW Seed – and the first seven series are available on YouTube for absolutely free. So why should the mayhem stop just because it’s moved two inches to the left?
In the spirit of continuing to celebrate Taskmaster‘s brilliance, every Friday we’ll be looking at each series 8 episode and offering commentary on the tasks, the quips and the complete failures. Obviously that means spoilers, so if you haven’t seen this series or this episode yet, head on over to CW Seed to watch along.
Without further ado, here’s the scorecard for “Stuck in a mammal groove.”
Prize task: The best burst-able item.
It is not, in fact, time for something completely different.
Joe Thomas brings a singular grape. Not only does that not make sense, if he was going to go that route, why not bring in the whole bunch of grapes? One of them just looks sad, which is also an accurate description of Joe’s attempt to explain himself.
Paul Sinha shows up with a penis-shaped balloon. This from the man who previously gave us a painting of pandas having sex. Both were apparently from his relatives. What is going on in Paul’s family?!
Iain Stirling goes metaphorical with a teddy bear that “bursts with love.” Although it’s a creepy kind of love because Iain recorded its voice while trying not to wake up his girlfriend.
Then Lou Sanders gives us a creme brulee with Greg Davies’ face on it, and Sian Gibson arrives with a giant artificial blister. In short, this is the worst assortment of prizes in Taskmaster history. Good job, everyone!
Task No. 1: Build the best volcano.
It’s grade-school science experiments all over again. Iain goes immediately to the “soda and Mentos” combination, which is also what Joe goes for. But while Joe assembles something you’d have seen in grade school, Iain tries to make a huge version in the yard. He even goes so far as to start talking about being in the next Champion of Champions episode.
So of course, his volcano fails miserably. “We’ve all been there,” Paul quips. Iain is genuinely heartbroken.
Meanwhile, Paul takes the soda and a bicycle pump for something that looks like the exact opposite of Iain’s volcano. Sian builds a craft project that lights on fire but doesn’t actually erupt. Lou’s volcano just looks like it’s got worms growing out of it.
Greg is feeling in a good mood, so he gives both Sian and Iain two points. Paul gets three while Joe and Lou are given five as joint winners.
Task No. 2: Work out what Alex Horne is wearing next door. Alex will only communicate with Alex Horne’s horn.
The contestants are brought onto a train where they have to guess what ridiculous costume Alex is wearing. It’s obviously ridiculous because this game would make no sense if he just showed up in a blue suit or with a hat on.
Everyone works out that they need to set up a code system with Alex and ask him a series of yes-no questions. But their ability to use this system is varied. Joe starts forgetting answers he’s already gotten, and then just begins listing every mammal he can think of. He’s the only person to run out of time.
Iain becomes surprisingly enraged during this task, while Paul slowly and methodically plods toward the answer: Alex is dressed up as a parrot. Greg points out that Iain could never go on any quiz show because he’d just get an answer and then yell profanity immediately afterward.
As for the ladies, Lou gets her system backwards. Sian asks if Alex is “cute” and then goes “awww” when he confirms it. Both of them do get round to parrot, but not before Lou blurts out that he might be Alan Partridge. No, Lou, that’s Steve Coogan.
Since this is based on speed, Sian is first, Lou second, Iain third and Paul fourth, while Joe gets no points for his utter failure.
Task No. 3: Alex is in the living room. In 20 minutes from now, you must apologize to Alex for something you’ve done in that time. Best apology for worst thing wins.
“I could probably just go in now and just apologize for the way I’ve lived my life,” Joe comments. That would’ve been something to see, but instead he comes up with a song about Alex’s murder. It’s no “Tree Wizard” although the line about Alex’s death being evidence for the existence of God is a good one.
Paul wrecks the Taskmaster house fridge and blames it all on stress. This isn’t really that terrible unless you’re phobic about germs and his apology is similarly low-key. Iain just pies Alex and then sings a terrible song about it.
But then there’s Sian, who steals Alex’s phone and sends a photoshopped naked picture of him to Greg. As Alex points out he’s lucky she didn’t send that to everyone. Speaking of everyone, Lou thinks a good apology is also stealing Alex’s phone and using it to sign him up for a wide variety of things no one should ever want, like Scientology. According to Alex, the estate agent is still calling him. Whoops.
The real win, though, has to go to Alex Horne for letting anyone use his phone in the first place. That’s commitment to his own show if he’s going to open himself up to jokes about his anatomy and constant phone calls.
“If Joe had murdered you, he’d have got three points. That’s how little I care,” Greg tells Alex. Lou is the clear winner followed by Iain, Sian, Joe and Paul bringing up the rear.
Task No. 4: Get into one sleeping bag, then stand to attention and salute the Taskmaster for a full five seconds. Then get into the second sleeping bag, then skip once. The fastest wins.
This is basically a competition to look ridiculous. Joe seems to win easily, while Iain has another profanity-laced meltdown trying to get into his first sleeping bag, and Paul continues to have no concern for the passage of time. However there’s a good reason for it at the moment: he’s injured his shoulder. Everyone else comes over to give him a hand and Greg is actually cheering him on at the end.
That warm fuzzy moment is destroyed because afterward Alex reveals that most of the panel forgot how to count to five. Iain wins the task but Lou wins the overall episode and a haul of things no sane person would actually want.
So what have we learned today? Iain Stirling is prone to spontaneous emotional breaks, murder is only good for third place on Taskmaster, and please for the love of everything holy never give anyone your cell phone.
Full episodes of Taskmaster are available for free on YouTube. All 10 episodes of Taskmaster series 8 are now streaming on CW Seed.