Taskmaster: The Entirety of Series 12
September 25, 2021 7:45 PM - Season 12 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Alan Davies, Desiree Burch, Guz Khan, Morgana Robinson and Victoria Coren Mitchell all vie for the Golden Head of the Taskmaster—and to eventually advance to the Champion of Champions III! But first they have to elbow their way through the ten-episode labyrinth of odd tasks overseen by Little Alex Horne... and then convince Greg Davies—the Taskmaster—that they actually performed said tasks, nevermind whether they may have done well. See the astonished looks on everyone's faces when Greg totally mishandles the doling out of precious points.

Three women and two men on the panel this season! Cheer for your favorite, and heckle your most despised villain—knowing you will eventually learn to love every one of them over the next ten episodes for their human frailty, lateral thinking, dignity, but mostly their dubious arguments—while scrambling for those oh-so-valuable points and take-home prizes.
posted by not_on_display (76 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Just watched episode one, and the panel has great chemistry. My personal hero of this series is Alan Davies, and I'm rooting against Victoria—only because I've seen them on other panel quiz shows. But even as I'm ready to hate on Victoria, I'm starting to warm up to her against my better judgement.

Also, I don't think Greg understood the importance of vibration in the prize task. Seems unlikely, but really, either he had no clue, or did not want to acknowledge it.
posted by not_on_display at 7:48 PM on September 25, 2021

[Here's a link to Episode 1 on Dailymotion. Warning: it contains spoilers because it's the episode itself.]
posted by not_on_display at 8:06 PM on September 25, 2021

In the first episode, when Victoria completes the balloon task, she briefly turns into Claudia Winkleman, expressing herself through sound effects.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:39 PM on September 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

Episode one was very funny! We had big laughed in all the segments and the panel seems to have jumped into things straight out the gate. Even the live task was creative - *I'm an Otter!" Either this is a cleaver group or they all did their homework ahead of filming. Looking forward to ep 2 next week
posted by jazon at 10:28 AM on September 26, 2021

Yeah, I feel like they all did their homework because a couple of times they seemed to be like "This seems like something [taskmastery]." And I agree, this has potential to be a great panel, but I can barely think of any seasons which had a ho-hum panel. They all seem to like each other and are easy to laugh at themselves and a light touch when ribbing others. So far!
posted by not_on_display at 10:31 AM on September 26, 2021

I'm glad it's back and feels like it's on form again - both 10 and 11 felt weirdly off-pace, whether it was just lockdown related anhedonia or what, but neither of those panels really seemed to get into the full bodied gusto that the best of Taskmaster has to offer.

But the first episode? I'm alternately cheering for Alan or Victoria, because I suspect they're both the most likely to go "oh, fuckit" and do something truly unexpected.

Is Desiree Burch another expat comedian like Rich Hall? She did a lot better than the American contestants did in the US Season, which makes me wonder if it was the format or the contestants...
posted by Kyol at 5:28 PM on September 26, 2021

Desiree lives in the UK. She was recently on Alan Davies's show As Yet Untitled and that was the first time I'd seen her. Alan has also had Morgana Robinson and Guz Khan on his show this series.

Alan is hands down my favorite, although Guz has been delightful--he was amazing in the hit Alex with a ball and the painting tasks. Uncle Alan taking a snack break was hilarious and I would also have gone for the scissors in the balloon task. Morgana has to be the favorite to win though. She seems to be competitive and pretty sharp and barricading one of the doors to the house was a brilliant move.
posted by ceejaytee at 8:13 AM on September 27, 2021

I also kind of wonder if Taskmaster is frankly _easier_ to produce during lockdown than other shows. Yes, there's technically some kind of live audience, but I don't think the show depends on it like other panel shows. But otherwise, a few weeks of Alex meeting the panelists (or _a_ week? I'm not sure of the production timeline, recent seasons have had fewer "do something in the next 20 weeks that will really impress the Taskmaster" type tasks that suggest a longer production schedule) one-on-one and reasonably distanced (ok maybe not the production staff? but they can take additional off-camera protections and a lot of the tasks can be done in well ventilated spaces), a day of group shooting in the theater, and there's your series. Of course having said that I can't remember if 10 or 11 had any tasks with contestants eating a chocolate-coated Alex...
posted by Kyol at 8:40 AM on September 27, 2021

I was so sad when Taskmaster NZ season 2 ended a few weeks ago because Taskmaster has been the one show to truly distract me from... *vaguely waves hand* ...the past couple of years, but I'm happy I didn't have to wait long for fresh Taskmaster episodes!

The balloon task especially had me howling. Desiree and her "ding dong" each time she returned to Alex's "shop" was delightful.

(Also if anyone else is a fan of Taskmaster NZ, next week's Taskmaster Podcast guest is Paul Williams! I have great fondness and appreciation for Alex, but I LOVE Paul.)
posted by paisley sheep at 11:58 AM on September 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

The prize tasks have felt a bit lacklustre in the past couple of seasons, and episode 1 ended up being a bit weak too, but I loved episode 2's prize task.
Victoria's "Eloquent bullshit" and scrabble square was very on brand and very well presented and Alan's wine box was extremely well aimed for task master.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:41 AM on October 1, 2021

The scrabble square eloquent bullshit and Victoria's mental math skills were fantastic and what I'd hoped to see from her here. I think the breakout star might be Guz Khan, although Morgana Robinson is a wild card who seems like she might do almost anything. Guz turning on Alex during the scoring of the space hopper challenge was hilarious.
posted by ceejaytee at 6:24 AM on October 1, 2021 [3 favorites]

The prize tasks have felt a bit lacklustre in the past couple of seasons, and episode 1 ended up being a bit weak too, but I loved episode 2's prize task.

Yeah, it feels like they kind of realized they were getting into a _very weird_ point when a contestant was sneaking into Greg's house, or using their mortgage as a prize task, or even the Greg Tattoo that they maybe kind of told everybody to cool it off a bit?
posted by Kyol at 10:54 AM on October 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

TASK: Produce a live-in-studio television show through a massive pandemic, and keep the quality high while shifting strategies for producing the pre-recorded and in-studio segments. You may not have anyone on camera look like they're closer than six feet away from one another. The studio audience will be in a completely separate venue. The food tasks will have to be just as gross. You have six months—your time starts... now.

I dunno — I felt like seasons 10 and 11 were different, but not in a bad way at all, and even left me with some of my favorite personalities and memories. E.g. Johnny Vegas or Mike Wozniak doing ANYthing; Katherine Peterson's spacy emotionality, Mawaan's energy, Jamali's laid-backness; Daisy & Richard's team tasks... and that creepy locker-basement task. I have always started at the beginning of a season skeptical, but the contestants quickly become endearing in how unique they are in their approaches. It's no Season 7, but it's still a damn fine show. (And yeah, Victoria's math skills did not surprise me, seeing as she's a world-class poker player.)

Not having direct feedback from an in-studio audience probably made them much more self-conscious, but it also meant each had to be funnier for the other also-funny-panelists. Covid restrictions definitely had to affect where, when, and how they could devise, set up, and run tasks (e.g. the team tasks). For the Prize tasks, I agree that they seemed to be half-assing it the past couple of seasons, and that this episode felt like a marked turnaround—but again, it's Covid times so nobody's gonna sneak into Greg's house, travel is limited, serendipitous purchases are made more unlikely because, stores.

I think they're holding up their end of the bargain excellently. The tasks involve lots of lateral thinking, the funny is still top-notch, etc. But I do look forward to the point where they can let loose again. But for now, they are restricted and doing excellently within the parameters that Covid's dictated.

(Oh, yesterday I saw Desiree Burch on Hypothetical—the show presented by Josh Widdecombe and James Acaster. She nailed it. That show was also my introduction to Victoria, and she just angried up my blood—but I'm liking her on this, for the most part. I've always loved Alan Davies. Never saw Morgana or Guz in anything previous or since, but yeah, this is anybody's series so far—maybe.)
posted by not_on_display at 10:17 PM on October 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Yeah, it feels like they kind of realized they were getting into a _very weird_ point when a contestant was sneaking into Greg's house, or using their mortgage as a prize task, or even the Greg Tattoo that they maybe kind of told everybody to cool it off a bit?

Two of the three you mention were in the first series (Josh and Romesh). There was no “sneaking into” Greg’s house; you may be thinking of Rhod Gilbert in the seventh season who just stuck around after being there socially (and hiding out in a closet for hours after everyone thought he’d left is 100% on brand for Rhod — this is a guy who, we learned on WILTY, once gave away his car to reimburse a friend for his share of some tapas).

I think the prize tasks getting a little strained are just mere fatigue. This week’s episode is, I think, the 97th one produced to date. If you had to think up a funny contest for five friends to do, how good would your 97th effort be?

Anyway, YouTube recommended Kongen Befaler, the Norwegian Taskmaster spin-off.

It is methadone for me with the week-long wait until my next hit.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:25 PM on October 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm frankly impressed that there hasn't been all that much task repetition in general, although maybe after 500-ish tasks maybe we're finally getting some broad categorizations.

But it's less the prize tasks as presented by Alex and Greg, it was the prizes offered by the lockdown contestants. I mean, sure, it's lockdown, it's going to be a little more adhoc than years past, they're going to have to make do with what they had around the house, I get that. But it felt like nobody in 10 or 11 was really trying to sell their ridiculous halfassed attempt at a prize as being truly a prize worth winning in the way that Alan tried selling his boxed wine, or Victoria tried selling her Scrabble square.

And the first season of Kongen Befaler is actually subtitled now, so that'll be worth a watch. The last time I looked it was 100% Norwegian and I'm not _that_ dedicated.
posted by Kyol at 9:46 AM on October 4, 2021

I think the prize tasks getting a little strained are just mere fatigue.

This season I've been listening to the podcast going over some of the earlier episodes and getting some of the behind the scenes "goss" by people talking with Ed Gamble and it's been really interesting to watch how committed to the "no really you can take these prizes home" bits people are. Like in the early seasons you really got the sense that was really on the line, in the later episodes less so, and in some cases you learn on the podcasts, people aren't even really bringing in these items themselves (this was Josh Widdicombe talking about the Magic Eye image he brought in) they just come up with the idea and I guess the producers go get it?

Here's the Dailymotion link to S12E02 which contains another one of those gross-out eating tasks.

I think the breakout star might be Guz Khan

He really seems to be getting through to Greg in a way that many of the other BIPOC contestants haven't been able to (many seem to agree that Muwan was an amazing contestant but he wound up scoring not terribly well and someone on the podcast mentioned that it was because Greg couldn't relate to him which is a bit of an indictment of the usual subjective scoring that Greg does) and I really enjoy his energy so far.
posted by jessamyn at 10:24 AM on October 4, 2021 [3 favorites]

it felt like nobody in 10 or 11 was really trying to sell their ridiculous halfassed attempt at a prize as being truly a prize worth winning in the way that Alan tried selling his boxed wine, or Victoria tried selling her Scrabble square.

Yes, this is exactly what I meant.
The shows were still excellent, and the prize tasks themselves I think were fine, but it felt like the contestants didn't seem to engage with specifically the prize task. It seemed notable to me on this episode how much more life there was in this prize task.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:35 AM on October 4, 2021

Also, I was amused by Victoria denying being in Alan's peer group when she's only like 6 years younger than he is - 49 vs 55. I mean sure, it's an important 6 years, but that's like a sibling gap, not generational.

But yeah, this group of contestants really seems to be engaged with the tasks in a way I was afraid they might have lost the spark for over the past couple of seasons? And it's not like I disliked the contestants in 10 and 11 - even the space cadets were fun - but they didn't get me laughing like a fool like the best seasons do. The worst part is the root of it is almost always unintentional humor, just how different people interpret the rules or complete the task. And I know they'd mentioned in the past that they were trying to lock down tasks so it was less open to interpretation, which seems like risking self-sabotage since having someone go completely off in their own direction was so much of the fun.

Anyone know when the last season was where they had the answer written clearly for the contestants if they only looked, for example? The satsuma in the sock, or OLLIE were both the 7th season, but it seems like that particular bit has gone away lately, and I always loved it because I _know_ how it is when you're under pressure and you've got tunnel vision.
posted by Kyol at 11:19 AM on October 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

I have watched every Taskmaster episode ever, and I have never been so grossed out as I was by the slop in bags task. It doesn't help that I have misophonia and the close-ups of everyone's mouths were absolutely excruciating. gah.

You can definitely tell the people who have had to dig through their couch cushions for change vs... well, those that haven't.

I thought Guz painting the space hopper was absolutely delightful and was glad they showed most of it, and that he was rewarded with a decent score in spite of making a mess.

Rooting for Guz or Desiree. Greg usually finds someone to pick on by about episode three and it better not be either one of them.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:40 PM on October 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have watched every Taskmaster episode ever, and I have never been so grossed out as I was by the slop in bags task. It doesn't help that I have misophonia and the close-ups of everyone's mouths were absolutely excruciating. gah.

But! But! Morgana's solution was 100% perfect. I mean, it didn't _work_, but any time a contestant can turn the tables on Alex is a small win for the little man, somehow.
posted by Kyol at 1:18 PM on October 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I mean, without even knowing she'd have been eligible for ten bonus points?

My annoyance-fear is that Greg seems a li'l sweet for Morgana and though she isn't whom I'd bet on winning, it's going to soften Greg's criticism of her performances.

That said, Morgana is a force of nature to be reckoned with, and she sincerely seems like she's not only up for mischief, but actually tempted to cause it. She's got 'that look' in her eyes that the others (excluding Guz) don't. Again, Greg likes that; Alex maybe not so much but maybe a little.

My early bets are on Guz and Morgana pulling away, closely followed by Desiree and then Victoria. I get the feel.ing Alan's being set up for that third episode where Greg decides Alan's the ol' stoned fuddy-duddy and they have fun goofing off and then one or two points are given. I could be wrong though, since they have generational and cultural touchtones in common. – Touchstones I mean!
posted by not_on_display at 10:40 PM on October 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

And the first season of Kongen Befaler is actually subtitled now, so that'll be worth a watch. The last time I looked it was 100% Norwegian and I'm not _that_ dedicated.

This is my own situation. My own grasp of Norwegian is negligible. The physical tasks, I think, one could follow okay but the somewhat ingenious prize tasks would be mystifying. As I recall, the first one is “bring something you borrowed but failed to return;” another was “something you didn’t think you’d need but now find useful.” It’s hard to convey these without language, or at least harder than “cook and serve a waffle in this waffle iron located in the middle of the standard Taskmaster big red carpet you cannot set foot on.”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:49 AM on October 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

I think Greg really cheated Alan on the film task by complaining that a shot by the crew pulled him out of Alan's film. That's not Alan's fault. It was also unfair in the team task to let all of the young people work as a team to guess at the silhouettes while Alan and Victoria were on their own. Surely they could have selected one person at a time to guess for each one instead of letting two of them do it. Pretty unfair, but I guess it's Taskmaster and it's frequently unfair.

Desiree was great this week, but I think Alan deserved better. Desiree was right--he has that "great dad" energy and he is really fun to watch.
posted by ceejaytee at 12:39 PM on October 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

Yeah, this past week's Episode (#3) was fun. I thought Guz didn't get the benefit he deserved—that could have been a sand-boring egg!

Also, rewatching the "shoot the water balloon or drop the portcullis" sketch, I am thinking Desiree got into archery at one point, but their gravel was rubbish. I was so happy she won this episode, and right now I think it's anyone's game but Victoria's. She did excellently at the "copy Greg" task because of her analytical and math skills and strong memory, but I was happy to see Desiree do almost as well.

Just my feelings: Victoria has upset me more than any other contestant—and I've seen the whole run; Lou Sanders upset me almost as much but I still like her. This is all because of my own perceptions of Victoria... I've never met her in person. I've seen her on only one other show ("Hypothetical"). But the optics I receive—the signal I tuneinto: that she's full of hubris, smugness, and she's argumentative for the sake of being right and/or "better"(?) than her opponent. Bad vibes. I want to like her. But I just don't.

I do like watching her on the show, though—I admire her analytical mind and her mathematical skills, her memory and tactics. Just not a fan of her personality. She's probably a nice person IRL. But if she isn't, I wouldn't wanna face her in a dark alleyway.

I think these things will work against her in this show. Lou Sanders could pull this off with her personality because she's just likeable.
posted by not_on_display at 2:49 PM on October 13, 2021

Oh yeah, I was _so happy_ that Morgana figured out there was a clue on the crow (maybe with too much help from Alex, but this show is a bit loose like that), everybody else just went "huh, must've just been buried" and BOY that's frustrating.
posted by Kyol at 7:47 AM on October 14, 2021

Will I be able to watch Taskmaster if I *really didn't like* Alex Horne on 8oo10c/countdown or assorted R4 stuff?

For comparison, (and because I want to vent a little), I've had to turn off anything that featured R. Gervais even a little bit, he's like itching powder. Alex Horne doesn't give me the creepy chills like G, I just find him a vortex of unfunny.
posted by aesop at 1:21 PM on October 14, 2021

You might actually like this better if you DON'T like Alex Horne. I mean he's on screen a lot so if you just don't like his face that's a problem, but he's not really a sympathetic character in the role they have put him into (despite being producer of the show) and many terrible-ish things happen to him which, if you don't like him and you like to watch Greg Davis take the piss out of his bad jokes, you may be okay. I hate Gervais, find him entirely unwatchable, and I've liked this.
posted by jessamyn at 2:40 PM on October 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Alex Horne doesn't give me the creepy chills like G, I just find him a vortex of unfunny.

You may be the perfect viewer for this show! Alex, as the taskmaster's minion, is never meant to be funny on purpose.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:47 PM on October 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Episode 4: Victoria should have gotten a bonus point for the bike task. That was fantastic. The riddle task played right into her strengths and she was just genius. And, I have a revelation--I've never seen Alex fall out of a chair laughing before and it was hilarious.
posted by ceejaytee at 5:32 AM on October 15, 2021 [3 favorites]

Yeah, about halfway through the task I wondered if anyone would just ride as slowly as possible and just put their feet down for the tasks. That was only five stops (pick up balloon, burst balloon, pick up hat, place hat & take letter, post letter), and I think the fewest stops anyone actually racked up was like seven. (on rewatch ok it was five for Alan and Desiree.)

I suppose, part of the difficulty of the competition is that you figure at least one of the other competitors might be halfway competent, so you have to try as well.

That said, did they just drag those bikes off someone's junk pile? Both of them looked like they barely had any air in their tires. I'm not sure if wrestling with low pressure makes it easier or harder to track stand...
posted by Kyol at 6:34 AM on October 15, 2021

Episode 4: Victoria should have gotten a bonus point for the bike task. That was fantastic. The riddle task played right into her strengths and she was just genius.

Definitely. I haven't really been enjoying her participation so far, so it was nice to see her shine. I'm sure if it was Morgana learning to ride a bike she would have gotten extra points :eyeroll:
posted by oneirodynia at 6:41 PM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

I’ve been rewatching some of the previous series this week (seasons 9 and 11, to be specific). One thing I have discerned from seeing Rose Matafeo and Sarah Kendall in the final seat is that antipodean women have hyoooj hair.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:49 AM on October 18, 2021

The team task this week was fantastic. It's fascinating seeing how they come up with team tasks that are still socially distanced. While Victoria deserves all the love for assuming there wasn't another half of the puzzle and just solving it on her own, I couldn't stop giggling at Guz "There's been another revelation" and Desiree barely (if at all) containing her frustration with him (plus Alex straight up losing it on camera). I get the feeling Alex allowed Desiree to order him to get the other half of the puzzle from Guz just because they'd been there hours and it was the only way anything was going to be solved.

Also the sheer joy everyone had throwing forks at a bucket. This is the season of forks and buckets!
posted by paisley sheep at 12:30 PM on October 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yeah, about halfway through the task I wondered if anyone would just ride as slowly as possible and just put their feet down for the tasks.

That occurred to me as well. This is Monday morning quarterbacking, of course, but I heard nothing about how quickly one was obliged to get going again after a stop. I’m not sure there’s a reason someone couldn’t have paused at the trickiest part — say, behatting the mannequin and collecting the letter to read — and mused on next steps for several minutes before continuing.

And definitely leading how to ride a bike in real time(-ish) was absolutely deserving of a bonus point. Victoria wuz robbed.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:04 PM on October 18, 2021

MetaFilter: There’s been another revelation.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:05 PM on October 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

I’m not sure there’s a reason someone couldn’t have paused at the trickiest part

iirc, the timer was only running when you were actively on the bike with your feet on the pedals, so pausing was clock-stopped time.
posted by jessamyn at 5:10 PM on October 18, 2021

I just found that the sheer joy that she was actually able to ride a bicycle was worth any time penalties she incurred—I was just cheering for her to ride. I wonder what must have been going through her head, riding a bike like a newb AND having to follow inane pointless instructions at the same time.
posted by not_on_display at 1:17 AM on October 20, 2021

Victoria was the podcast guest last week, and she and Ed Gamble (the podcast host) spent a fair bit of time discussing the bike-riding task. IIRC, she was aware that this would likely change her public persona forever, but was just focused on getting through the task, even if she knew she'd be taking time penalties by putting her feet down at each stop. She hasn't ridden a bicycle since, not because of anything traumatizing about the experience, but because she doesn't have a bicycle and there hasn't been a need.
posted by paisley sheep at 11:48 AM on October 20, 2021

Yeah, that whole scene was great television. The sheer joy on Victoria's face totally made the task seem like mere background noise. I like how Taskmaster sometimes reveals those "the true person underneath" moments.
posted by not_on_display at 10:47 PM on October 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

This week, with Alex triumphantly showing off his mad football skills (especially having so much fun with Alan) and that incredible live task, where Guz, Alan, and Morgana had me on the edge of my throne, was just fantastic. What a great episode! I wonder if there was a cake in the washing machine or in the shed where, of course, Taskmaster cakes live.
posted by ceejaytee at 11:23 AM on October 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've never been so invested in a live studio task as the balloon one (but maybe that was due to the excellent editing?).

The team task was also stressful, because I kept shouting at Morgana to send the net back and as the last few seconds ticked on, I realized they were doomed. I'm not sure how I feel about Greg's scoring there, but then he has questionable scoring every episode.
posted by paisley sheep at 2:51 PM on October 22, 2021

Oh and I liked how Alex fought back against the absurd hurdles when trying to make a goal. It was his turn to do a wee bit of lateral thinking -- if you moved the spot, then surely I can move it, too?

My first instinct would have been to damage the football, then make it even more difficult to kick by tying it to some bricks or rocks. I can't remember if the rules said anything about tampering with the ball -- just that once it was time, you had to be a certain distance away.
posted by paisley sheep at 2:59 PM on October 22, 2021

ozmartian on Youtube is uploading and providing links on their "community" tab, which I guess means "their comments":
* on Youtube, episode 1 and episode 2
* Youtube geoblocked in the US, at least: episode 3, episode 4, and episode 5 - you can see if you can watch on the playlist
* on Dailymotion, password of "tm": episode 3, episode 4, episode 5
posted by Pronoiac at 8:52 PM on October 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

OK, I am kinda squinting so I don't see spoilers, haven't gotten to episode 5 yet—but in the meantime while I'm waiting, I've been entertaining myself watching Alex Horne interviewing this season's contestants in annoying song. Here are the first three: Alan Davies, Desiree Burch, Victoria Coren Mitchell.
posted by not_on_display at 9:52 PM on October 24, 2021

Hmm, episode 5 left me pretty cold except for the final task, which was definitely one of the best studio tasks. The cake task was not very clever or interesting and it seemed like it was trying too hard to replicate the majesty of Liza Tarbuck's cake-bottom valentine from Series 6.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:28 PM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

This season has been good so far! S11 was my favourite solely due to Mike Wozniak

My highlight was definitely Victoria learning to ride a bike. I've spent a lot of time teaching a lot of people how to ride and fix bikes, and... it's just always so good. When she asked if she could maybe ride a bit more? I was REALLY hoping for a montage of Alex just taking her for a nice afternoon of riding!

Both her and her husband have a schtick that I enjoy: I've spent all my skill points on INT (in a way that seemed like a good idea), but now how do I do tasks with my body or relate to normal people?? It took a while to see that they are often the inverse of minnesota-nice. They talk down to people but only to subtly highlight their own insecurities.

The cake was gross. I'm not sure why, but I felt like this was somebody's fetish.

In the cake task, though, I saw something that I hope to see more of: Morgana just deciding to bake a cake in a timed event. I think that I'd probably try to learn some new skill during every timed task, and get all of those camerapeople some overtime. Solve this riddle? I'm going to need to put on my thinking hat. So I'd better learn to crochet so I have a hat to put on. Yes, I know the timer is running.
posted by Acari at 2:57 PM on October 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

I was happy that [the winner of episode 5] won—well deserved—[they] really did everything correct. Also, [their] offering in the Prize Task was one of the best in several seasons.

Also it did not surprise me that Victoria carries a stash of nutrition cakes with her wherever she goes. She has grown on me the past few episodes: I first perceived her coming into this, from other shows, as arrogant and argumentative; now I still perceive her similarly, but not in a "pushes my buttons" way—and I am tuning into her dry and subtle sense of humor beneath it more and more. Like Victoria's got a little Katherine Parkinson's sensibilities mixed with the other idiosyncrasies residing inside Victoria's super-genius outer shell. I wouldn't have been surprised if Katherine had a nutrition cake in waiting.
posted by not_on_display at 5:24 PM on October 27, 2021

The prize task for episode 6 is incredible, the best I can remember seeing.
posted by ethand at 8:05 PM on October 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yes, ethand, the prize task was amazing. Guz telling Greg, "We have defeated the format of your show" after Greg yelled at them to stop being so nice was just hilarious. And the look on Guz's face when he saw his gift from Desiree was just lovely. I like all the contestants but Guz has been a revelation to me and I hope he wins.
posted by ceejaytee at 7:10 AM on October 29, 2021 [8 favorites]

Guz has been a revelation


I’m a little surprised that when attempting to get an iron to someplace that one would not drain the water out of it (elsewhere than into Alex’s sleeve), or even why it would be filled with water ahead of time.

Also, it seems that at least once a season when the task involves manipulating something from the furthest away, someone will plunder the shed and gaffer tape brooms and rakes and things together and learn about leverage all over again. Archimedes keeps a dear school, but Taskmaster contestants will learn in no other.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:34 PM on October 31, 2021 [3 favorites]

Yep, that was a Prize Task for the ages. And I'm totally on Team Guz. If you haven't seen Alex's annoying-song interview with him, his has been the best so far. Guz just has a look in his eyes alone that encompasses what TM's about: the surprise and wonder of discovery; the wide-eyed panic; the competition; the eagerness. And when he talks, it's brilliant. I'm very happy to have discovered/rediscovered these talents, but Guz has the most buzzing energy. Morgana's a close second to that, and again, it's in her eyes. Really—the slippers.

Also, Victoria has to wear her glasses. She's just not in this with her A-game. I was told that on the TM podcast, she said that when her performance was revealed to her in the context of the others', that she was dumbfounded by the number of alternate ways people could approach a problem. So I look forward to eventually meking it to that podcast episode, because this was one of those times. You can sometimes catch her whipping her glasses on or off when something's shown on the big screen onstage. Still, I'm enjoying her more and more. And due to her being on the show, I'm just now starting to watch Mitchell and Webb—it's up my alley, and all free on youtube! yaaaay.

And the one who I knew best going in, Alan Davies, who I thought would kill it, is just this nice, likeable, middle-aged dude, who does moderately well and is just all smiles. This panel EXUDES positive vibes, and the prize task on this episode (S12E06) encapsulated those positive vibes. The rest of the show was good, but yeah. That prize task.
posted by not_on_display at 10:43 PM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Desiree’s gift of the painting of the bully kutta for Guz was one of the most wholesomely wonderful things I’ve ever seen. I’ve gone back to rewatch it several times.
posted by argybarg at 9:39 PM on November 5, 2021 [5 favorites]


Episode 7 was a good one, but a little on the confusing side if I blinked for a moment. For instance, I couldn't figure out what went wrong with ______ & ______ in the pipe task! But it's a good series when everyone gets to win at least one episode.
posted by not_on_display at 5:12 PM on November 8, 2021

Yeah, honestly I sorta of thought "ok, shove the pipe through the box" was totally acceptable and that they didn't mean "through each item in the box", but I didn't go back to re-listen to the task as presented, either.

So over the weekend the wife and I watched The Cleaner on BBC America's streaming (god only knows what it's on in England) and _jesus christ_ Greg Davies is huge. I mean, I don't think I've ever seen him standing up next to anyone, and size differences are muted behind a desk on a panel show or sitting in a throne.
posted by Kyol at 8:09 PM on November 8, 2021

You can see Greg talking to the contestants as the credits roll at the end of the show, moreso during earlier pre-covid series. It only hit me after watching season two: seeing him stand next to Richard Osman, another VERY tall presenter and contestant in that series, it wasn't everyone else who was wicked short—Greg is just massive. And I never gave it a second thought because of course the Tasmaster would be towering over his dominion. (And I have bad spatial awareness.)

During those rare moments where he does personally interact with a panelist during the show (e.g. James Acaster or Nish Kumar), he totally comes across more like a teacher talking to a student rather than a monstrous adult in character talking to a normal sized adult not in character. Like a Taskmaster.

It's one of the only reasons why Taskmaster failed in the US: Reggie Watts is NOT Greg Davies. Reggie Watts is many things, but not a giant man who can confidently yell "RUBBISH" at someone's earnest attempts at inanity enacted.
posted by not_on_display at 10:22 PM on November 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

Yeah, and James Acaster is like 6'1" (and Alex Horne is 6'2"), so Greg's 6'8" is merely "tall" as compared to the first episode of the Cleaner where he was cast against Helena Bonham Carter's 5'2". At first I wondered if the entire show had been written to take advantage of slightly undersized, 80% scale "traditional" houses or something.

No. Greg is just massive. Jiminy.
posted by Kyol at 8:40 AM on November 9, 2021

I once assembled screenshots of the moments of presentations of the trophies at the end of the first five seasons, one of the few times Greg is standing. Save for the 5’11” Noel Fielding, all the recipients (Josh Widdicombe, Katherine Ryan, Bob Mortimer, Rob Beckett) are sort of in the 5’6” to 5’8” range and as I remarked once before it’s like special effects test footage from The Hobbit.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:12 AM on November 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

Reggie Watts is many things, but not a giant man who can confidently yell "RUBBISH" at someone's earnest attempts at inanity enacted.

I have trouble thinking of an American actor who has the same combination of being physically imposing and carrying off the skeptical, slightly bristly persona. Brad Garrett is the same size but would he be a good fit personality-wise? Maybe the 6’4” Joel McHale?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:21 AM on November 12, 2021

Funny: Joel McHale was my first "doppelgänger" thought the first time I saw Greg Davies. But he's not imposing. Jason Mamoa or Dwayne Johnson, maybe? ...but they don't have the improv comic chops of Greg Davies. Gary Gulman's 6'6" (and grew up in the same town as I did and is the same age as me) but he's just too nice for the job. Who are some other physically massive comedians? Maybe Gabriel Fluffy Iglesias would have been a good choice? He's got the wise-ass attitude, the fearlessness, and the built-in following, and the humanity and likability. As much as I respect Joel McHale's work on Community, and that he's good at offending people, I just think he wouldn't have that FIRE IN THE LONG BELLEH.

But it wasn't just Reggie Watts as host of the US version, it was also that he seemed to have no natural chemistry with Alex Horne, no smooth casualness interacting with the same people he was about to tear into... the panel itself could have been chosen more carefully, the show had an odd pace to it—it didn't "flow" as well ... yeah, overall the US version just didn't have the "This is what Taskmaster is about" vibe that the original (naturally) does. It's just special.
posted by not_on_display at 10:42 PM on November 13, 2021

I think getting Reggie Watts to do anything on purpose might be difficult. Like a cat is good at doing what it wants, but not on command.

The host for nz taskmaster is interesting. My first thought was "this is like a handsome Matt Damon". Not very mean, doesn't talk down to his "Alex", but still has the taskmaster feel.
posted by Acari at 11:56 AM on November 14, 2021

Thanks Acari—good to know.

Meanwhile, I'll throw this on the pile: "Vega Lupina" is a whole YT channel dedicated to outtakes of the show—and there are 47 up there right now. The account's been active for approx. 1 month, I've seen that one had to be edited because of a copyright takedown: the account had to edit Rhod's creepy video of himself in Greg's closet while Greg slept after he greeted all the guests out of his house party—but the account COULD post anything else in that extended studio scene that hadn't aired.

There are a lot of pre-show warmups that Greg and Alex do for the audience, many of which involve Greg commanding Alex to perform an improvisational dance to the subject of whatever, and Greg hums a tune out while Alex kinda culmsies around.

This is that channel and its videos, newest-to-oldest.

posted by not_on_display at 1:12 AM on November 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

The host for nz taskmaster is interesting. My first thought was "this is like a handsome Matt Damon". Not very mean, doesn't talk down to his "Alex", but still has the taskmaster feel.

I wish Jeremy was a lot meaner, and his judging was... not great IMO. I really did like Paul Williams in the Alex Horne role though.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:58 PM on November 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

Did anyone else notice that Alan is wearing a Dignity t-shirt under his Dignity hoodie? Alan!

I'm going to miss this panel.
posted by Kyol at 6:16 AM on November 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

The highlights of the final episode for me were Victoria's declaration of love for her husband and Alan's incredible monster noise. This group of contestants were incredible and I'm going to miss them, especially Guz, who was a revelation.
posted by ceejaytee at 8:21 AM on November 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

What a lovely season! This cast is definitely going down in Taskmaster history as one of the best casts. I could have easily watched another 10 episodes with them. I now desperately desire a Taskmaster holiday special with all of them just because I'm not ready to say goodbye.

My favorite part of the final episode was definitely the live task. The "Wow Monster" will forever be saved for when I need an immediate giggle.

Also, the Series 13 cast has been revealed! The only one I'm familiar with in that line-up is Ardal O'Hanlon (thanks to Father Ted and Death in Paradise), but it's always the unknowns that end up delighting me the most!
posted by paisley sheep at 8:25 AM on November 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

I could not stop laughing about Alan’s surprise at his own Wow! Monster noise. That last live task was great! Every season I think I won’t like the in coming panel as much as the previous group and I am always wrong.
posted by Swisstine at 3:00 PM on November 29, 2021

Wow, I can't believe that's the end of the series! It's the closest finish I ever remember, down to the wire, any of four contestants could have taken the championship during the final task. The final task, you could see in some contestants' eyes that the overall trophy was slipping away from them.

And I agree, great panel this season—that said, I cannot remember not liking any whole panel (aside from the one-off New Year's—those individuals were nice, just not ™ material for the most part except Nicola). In spite of my initial crabby attitude toward Victoria, she won me over slowly but surely. The rest of them were iconic from the get-go, all truly memorable. Guz may be one of my favorite contestants ever—definitely in my top 10 of the ... sixty? ... panelists so far. (That link contains spoilers.)

Yeah, I'll miss this season. At times the tasks seemed to get too convoluted, but they were still interesting and funny, if hard to catch onto; and the simpler ones still surprised me in their continued variety.
posted by not_on_display at 4:35 PM on November 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

It’s been a good series, but I’m really starting to miss having a studio audience — and having the contestants sitting a bit closer together. They've done a good job of adjusting to The Situation, but it’s not the same.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:22 AM on November 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

The Champion of Champions II will feature the first live studio audience since Season 9.

Between Ed Gamble, Kerry Godliman, Liza Tarbuck, Lou Sanders, and Richard Herring, I have NO IDEA who to root for or who would win.
posted by not_on_display at 12:03 AM on December 1, 2021 [5 favorites]

As usual, I'm iffy about about half the cast at the outset, and by the end of the series want them all to come live with me in a mountain chalet so we can gambol across the hills together.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 1:19 PM on December 3, 2021 [3 favorites]

Does evderyone else have a "happy Taskmaster dance" they do whenever the theme plays?
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 7:47 PM on December 7, 2021

I sure do!
posted by jessamyn at 7:58 PM on December 7, 2021

My dog sighs and leaves the room when the taskmaster theme plays. Philistine.
posted by moonmilk at 8:10 PM on December 7, 2021

That'd be a good task: create a dance to the theme of "Taskmaster"

I'd probably go all "Solid Gold Dancer"
posted by not_on_display at 11:36 PM on December 7, 2021

I'm getting back to it. Ep 7: I liked the studio task, as it seemed like previously there were a couple that were too close to "roll the dice" for my taste.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:42 PM on December 14, 2021

I made a Fanfare post for the New Year Special, Youtube link included.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:45 AM on January 5, 2022

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