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 “The barrel dad.”
Prize task: The best present for a doctor.
Paul Sinha should have an advantage here since he actually has a medical background. Unfortunately, he blows it by coming in with a fake beard and talking about hiding oneself from the general public. That’s a bit self-serving, isn’t it?
Joe Thomas stumbles through the prize task again by talking about how cool BMX bikes are. Iain Stirling talks about how medical students are “alcoholic maniacs” provides a do-it-yourself party kit; Lou is kind of on that train because her herb garden comes with whiskey.
Sian Gibson can save us from all this nonsense, right? Not really, because she comes in with her own five-star name tag. Paul, however, comes to Joe’s defense…although Iain rightly points out that he should have advocated for himself instead. The end result of their bickering is that both Paul and Iain get joint last place purely because Greg wants to mess with them.
That’ll teach them…actually, no it won’t. Keep watching.
Task No. 1: Get this loo roll through the toilet seat.
The first hurdle to clear is actually realizing that the toilet seat is hanging in mid-air above their heads. Not everyone manages that, though; we’re back to Iain and Paul who think the task is referring to the bathroom inside the Taskmaster house.
Furthermore, Iain believes that “loo roll” is referring to the cardboard holder at the center of the toilet paper. Iain Sterling does have a knack for arguing semantics, which Joe notices as soon as everyone’s seen both clips.
As far as people who paid attention, Joe and Lou attempt to shoot the roll through basketball-style, while Sian grabs a pole out of the shed and pokes it through. But it’s the time elapsed that matters, not the methodology, so despite his questionable decision-making Iain wins the task.
Task No. 2: Make the best thing to engage a toddler.
This task isn’t exactly suitable for children even though that’s the entire point. Sian comes up with an exercise video which makes enough sense (no surprise as she actually has kids) but almost everyone else goes fairly off of the reservation.
Joe comes up with his version of Play-Doh. “I’ve often seen you through this series look like there’s nothing to live for,” Greg comments, happy that Joe is happy for once. And it’s all downhill from there.
Iain builds an awkward robot that Alex has to operate and it’s Alex’s presence that makes it work. If anyone deserves points for that it’s Little Alex Horne. And Lou coming up with a duck pinata and encouraging the kid to smash its head open is the second most disturbing thing here.
Paul thinks it’s a good idea to set up an existential crisis of a family of ducks being attacked by a thresher shark. No child ever wants to think of cute animals being killed; has he not seen Bambi? Or maybe it’s the natural progression from Lou encouraging duck homicide.
Sian and Paul tie for the win here despite having completely different approaches to child engagement. One of them is nurturing and the other almost accidentally scarred a toddler for life.
Read More: Taskmaster stars Greg Davies and Alex Horne on what makes the show so unapologetically funny
Task No. 3: Put the most weight in the hammock without anything falling out of the hammock. If anything falls out of the hammock, you are disqualified. Most weight in the hammock after ten minutes wins.
This is a team task, with Joe and Sian taking on Paul, Iain and Lou. However, it’s also an immediately clear case of when less is more.
Iain and Lou promptly begin bickering like a brother and sister stuck in a car together, while Paul hides behind a barrel as if he’s their clueless divorced father just trying to get through his custody weekend. Eventually the gang decides to put Iain in the hammock and pile everything they can on top of him. They’re so busy listening to Iain boss them about that they don’t notice something actually fell out of the hammock until Alex pulls up the replay.
Conversely Sian and Joe are able to work together. But they pull an Iain Stirling by taking the hammock off its hinges and laying it out on the grass like a towel. Greg believes that they’re stretching plausibility; however, because the other team is quite clearly disqualified (despite Lou’s desperate shrieks to the contrary), they still get three points.
Task No. 4: Choose a hoop that you think you can throw a frying pan into. Choose a distance from which you can throw a frying pan into that hoop. The person who throws most of their frying pan into their hoop from the longest distance wins.
How is this not an Olympic sport?! Especially because, as Joe deduces, the contestants’ hoop arrangement “looks like the first bit of a really shit Olympics opening ceremony.” The potential is boundless.
Paul makes a successful if unremarkable attempt from about a foot in front of himself. Joe misses completely, Sian misses even worse, and watch in the background for Alex covering his eyes in anticipation of the embarrassment or a potential injury.
Iain’s pan bounces when it lands and ends up touching the outer rim of his hoop, before Lou positively nails it. Alex and Greg’s truly happily shocked reactions are the best part of this whole sequence. Only Paul and Lou score points in the task, though, which creates a three-way tie for the winner of the episode.
Tiebreak: Stand behind a line and whip a bottle off a barrel. Fastest wins.
In what looks like a collection of outtakes from a certain Devo video, our heroes battle it out for their underwhelming collection of prizes. Sian manages it in under ten seconds and compares herself to Dolly Parton.
So what have we learned today? Paul Sinha should never be allowed around impressionable young minds, Alex Horne is the most helpful person alive, and everyone might be a functioning alcoholic. But it’s Sian Gibson who gets to literally ride off with the win at the end of this episode.
Full episodes of Taskmaster are available for free on YouTube. All 10 episodes of Taskmaster series 8 are now streaming on CW Seed.