Taskmaster: Season 17 (Full Season)
March 30, 2024 7:39 AM - Season 17 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Flanked by his efficient assistant Alex Horne, Greg Davies returns to remorselessly judge five quaking comics desperate to get their hands on his fabled golden head trophy.

Joanne McNally, John Robins, Nick Mohammed, Sophie Willan and Steve Pemberton are the contestants this season!

Episodes are available on Channel 4 in the UK on Thursdays (website) and on the Taskmaster YouTube channel in the USA on Fridays.
posted by merriment (81 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We watched the first episode last night. It's always great to have Taskmaster back! That said, I thought the first episode was... fine. My own internal barometer of if it's a great episode of Taskmaster is if I burst out into uncontrollable laughter, and I don't think my wife or I uttered a single chuckle the entire episode. It was fine! I thought maybe it would get there when they teased how Sophie had botched the gorilla task, but even that was... just fine. Fine Taskmaster is still better than 75% of everything else I watch on TV, however, and there's definitely potential - sometimes it takes awhile for the cast to grow on me.
posted by kbanas at 9:57 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]

That was my impression too. I don't know any of the cast besides Nick Mohammed so maybe they'll grow on me.
posted by mmoncur at 6:27 PM on March 30

Boy has John Robins ever Seen This Show. I suspect that will be his strength and also his downfall.

Gotta give it up for Steve Pemberton's tasking outfit. Simple, iconic, non-constrictive. (Joanne's jumpsuit, by contrast, looks great but she said in her pre-show interview that she bust a seam in the crotch twice.) Kind of can't believe it hasn't been done before.
posted by babelfish at 6:53 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]

I did laugh out loud several times during the first episode! The can of worms banter was one of the things that took me out, though, so calibrate your mileage from there. I'm not usually a huge fan of the prize task segment, but I even got some chuckles out of those efforts.

This crew does seem a bit low key (except for Sophie, my God) but in the earliest going, they are fully invested in the tasks, at least, which commitment I thought was unfortunately lacking with last season's cast. I also really like puns, so Steve Pemberton, Pun Machine, seems like he's going to be a source of ongoing amusement.
posted by merriment at 7:12 AM on March 31

Yeah, I was at mild chuckle level most of the episode, but Steve's "sausage girl is going to the festival to hear some bangers" during the final task got a solid guffaw.
posted by bassooner at 7:29 AM on March 31

Cheers to a new season!

It’s so interesting and lovely how my initial trepidation and suspicion of the new cast transforms into deep love by about episode 3. I’m looking forward to that journey as always. I did laugh aloud repeatedly, but I’m not quite sold yet (also as always). The brick hubris, the crow, the mixed up giraffe orientation, and Alex’s delivery of the line about viewers in prison were high points for me.

If there was ever any doubt that I’d be a good TM contestant, someone asked me in the street the other day, “what’s the only US state that ends in the letter K?” And I was totally stumped.

Reader, I am FROM NEW YORK.
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 8:37 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]

Man I don't know about the rest of you, but I was so charmed by the hoop Gary task, what a delight.
posted by Carillon at 9:29 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]

I really enjoyed this episode. Steve's puns, Sophie's Sophie-ness, John's competitiveness, and Joanne's matter of fact hilarious pronouncements (re her Wikipedia entry: "Mine's longer. Wrote myself.") are all so much fun.

I like Nick Mohammed and I loved his risky brick throwing (why didn't he stop after the brick bounced over the egg--he would have won!) but he seemed fairly quiet this first episode. On the Taskmaster pod, Ed Gamble and John Robbins discussed how Nick is known as one of the kindest comedians around, which is really nice.

After listening to the podcast, it's clear that John Robbins's very good friend Alex Horne put him on a team with Sophie knowing that his competitiveness and her off the wall spaciness would be both hilarious to the audience and make John crazy. They're the Dara O'Briain/John Kearns of this series. I'm very excited to see what happens next.

(Oh, fun fact--it's been noticed by viewers that in the Gary task, Nick's reflection was erased from the water. From Reddit. They probably won't be able to erase it everywhere, but I love that they made the effort.)
posted by ceejaytee at 8:00 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

I like Nick Mohammed and I loved his risky brick throwing

I seem to recall the set had a pile of fake foam bricks, in fact I'm pretty sure they were used in the same task by another contestant. While I didn't think the car accident play was that entertaining, the punchline about a 2 hour safety meeting was excellent.
posted by pwnguin at 10:00 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I was actually kind of surprised they were breaking eggs, wasn't there a big waily wail about food wastage a few seasons back? Or maybe they just got tired of the Taskmaster House smelling like a poorly run cheesemongers.

And yeah, I've already fallen in love with Sophie. She stands no chance, but she seems willing to just _go for it_ in a way that I like.
posted by Kyol at 10:18 AM on April 1

Arguably, the task was to not break eggs.
posted by pwnguin at 10:49 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

I'm not feeling this cast as much as I have the last several seasons, but it's Taskmaster so I am more than willing to give them a chance to see how they grow on me. I also did enjoy the Gary task, and love the detail of them removing Nick's reflection.
posted by synecdoche at 1:52 PM on April 1

I was pretty meh on the exquisite corpse painting task, but otherwise it was fine, nothing super standout amazing yet, but they can't all be bangers.
posted by juv3nal at 7:06 PM on April 1

the punchline about a 2 hour safety meeting was excellent.

... and yet the H&S people were perfectly happy to let Sophie nearly drown herself?! I hope we get to hear the full story behind that river task one day.

I thought it was a dull episode overall, redeemed only by Sophie. There's always one contestant I dislike from the off (and often they manage to redeem themselves) but this time there's three. That's a big hill to climb.
posted by Paul Slade at 8:51 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]

@Paul Slade - which three? Joanne was new to me, and I didn’t think I’d be a fan, but in the two episodes I’ve seen, she’s had my favourite line each time (in ep 1, the Wikipedia chat; in ep 2, even though it’s the episode’s title, “Jumungo”).
posted by TangoCharlie at 5:29 PM on April 8

posted by merriment at 6:41 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]

which three?

I deliberately didn't name them because I didn't want to condemn anyone so early in the season. Some of them may be perfectly OK in other contexts but just don't seem right for Taskmaster.

I think the show's success may mean it's begun attracting people who sign up not because they're in tune with its spirit, but because the exposure it grants is seen as a good career move. That's the vibe I get from at least two contestants here.

If, like me, you're rooting for Sophie, you may also like to seek out her 2020 sitcom Alma's Not Normal.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:47 PM on April 8

I think the show's success may mean it's begun attracting people who sign up not because they're in tune with its spirit, but because the exposure it grants is seen as a good career move. That's the vibe I get from at least two contestants here.

Just because someone's keen to be on the show doesn't mean they have to be allowed on if Alex (or whoever else) feels they aren't a good fit, barring agent shenanigans I guess ("take so and so who maybe you wouldn't ideally use this series & we'll give you that big name star you really wanted next series" kind of thing). That said, the archetypal cast does kind of have both a person who doesn't give a shit and someone else who has no idea what's going on baked into it, so I feel like it can absorb someone who "isn't in tune with its spirit" just fine usually.
posted by juv3nal at 12:43 AM on April 9

the archetypal cast does kind of have both a person who doesn't give a shit

I've always taken it that the best comedian is the one at the end with the fewest points -- class clowns aren't in it for straight A's! The epitome of this being Nish Kumar in Season 5, who looks like he doesn't care and isn't trying, but is then shown performing the same take 30 times until they get it perfect. Greg even takes him aside for a moment for a "private constructive discussion" which was hilarious.
posted by pwnguin at 3:06 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I was sort of disappointed they didn't keep calling Greg poppet through the whole prize task.

Otherwise I've been enjoying this group just as much as usual. Steve is maybe a bit too calculating, but I don't know that I _dislike_ that, either? And Nick is kind of disarmingly nice?
posted by Kyol at 4:18 PM on April 11

Very charmed to learn from the podcast that Steve kept a grape in his pocket through three days of task records, just in case they did another escape room style "find the grape" task.

Joanne really won me over this week, between the tension task and her commentary through the baby task. I mean, "won me over" sounds like she was facing some resistance, and that's not true—I just didn't have a sense of her before and now I think my sense is that I'm Team Joanne.
posted by babelfish at 5:40 PM on April 12

John and Steve are giving me real “we’ve watched Taskmaster, we’ve come prepared” vibes, which IIRC they both confirm on the podcast, and which makes things a little less fun.
Even still, I like them both, I look forward to their tasks, AND every episode I am also a little more on Team Joanne.
posted by TangoCharlie at 11:57 PM on April 13

(John’s clever workaround for the water-baby task came too quickly, it seemed. Like he was prepared to play Rules Lawyer.
Speaking of that task, did the final measurements include the formula that Steve added to his baby? Could someone have topped up their baby using the washing-up water?)
posted by TangoCharlie at 12:02 AM on April 14

I loved the hangman tension task
posted by Carillon at 1:07 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]

John’s clever workaround for the water-baby task came too quickly, it seemed. Like he was prepared to play Rules Lawyer.

I think John is very clearly prepared to be Rules Lawyered. They've twice managed to send him into a state of panic by pretending he was going to be penalized for something! Bingeing 16 seasons gave him a great feel for the type of lateral thinking required but also a borderline phobia of the potato throw experience.

There's always someone looking for workarounds, and personally I think it's fun—especially since it often works for them, but also does often backfire (see Rhod Gilbert, arguably the most This Guy in TM history) (actually no it's probably Iain Stirling but he really did overdo it and I don't like watching his season).
posted by babelfish at 6:59 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]

So far, I'm really enjoying this season. Good mix of personalities, good vibes in the studio, and I feel like the tasks are a little less byzantine and a little more open-ended than they've been in the last few seasons, which has led to more enjoyable outcomes.
posted by merriment at 1:10 PM on April 14

I started this season with doubts but it's growing on me fast. It's just a slower burn because we don't have a contestant who is flat-out insane (like Rhod Gilbert or Lucy Beaumont) and we don't have any that are seasoned comedy improvisers in the studio (like Sue Perkins or Frankie Boyle).

Sophie and Joanne were good from the start. I think I was still mad at Nick for what his character did in "Ted Lasso" but he won me over this episode (after performing poorly on the baby task: "I've got three kids!") and Steve wasn't doing anything for me until the Hangman task which was great.

John is still an enigma but I feel like we're heading for a Joe Wilkinson Potato Breakdown and that should be lots of fun.

Oh, and I loved the Mr. Blobby appearance!

Looking forward to more!
posted by mmoncur at 8:17 PM on April 14

I started this season with doubts but it's growing on me fast. It's just a slower burn because we don't have a contestant who is flat-out insane

I'm warming up on it too. I'm surprised to see Sophie's not crazy enough for you, though.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:18 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]

I love that Joanne won the Mr. Blobby task because she loves Mr. Blobby. And that was with dismissing her first guess as it couldn't possibly be. Tense hangman (no vowels!) was my favorite tension task; I wasn't tense watching Joanne destroy poor Alex, I was mostly cringing. But I guess it certainly made Alex tense. The real winners at the "create the most tension" task were Greg and Alex messing with John after the baby task. I thought he might cry.

My favorite moment though, was Greg sitting cross-legged on the stage while Sophie loomed over him on one leg, hissing. I would pay to see a show with Sophie and Bridget Christie stalking Greg and hissing. Or whispering that they could have him killed.
posted by ceejaytee at 8:29 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]

> Series 17 Outtakes - Part 1!

After two episodes, they had 8 minutes of outtakes!
posted by Pronoiac at 1:41 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

Series 17 Outtakes - Part 2!

I take back what I said about nobody on this season being insane, Joanne and Sophie are in stiff competition now.
posted by mmoncur at 10:35 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]

John knows the Knappett! He's just like us.
posted by merriment at 3:52 PM on April 26 [2 favorites]

I've been enjoying this season, even though there haven't been as many laugh-out-loud moments like I've experienced with other seasons.


Nick during the tie-yourself-to-the-cot task destroyed me. I had to pause and wait until I recovered from the tears of laughter before I could continue watching. I feel almost terrible because he was such a distressed little cot-turtle.

I also love that the TM team continues to edit out Nick's reflection.
posted by paisley sheep at 9:50 PM on April 26 [2 favorites]

Nick is so beautiful and sweet. I hope he never changes.

I'm finding that this group is lopsided (comedy-wise). John is so desperate to win that he's forgotten to be funny (the funniest moment with John was when Greg and Alexi pretended that some video caught him doing something to disqualify him). Joanne is funny sometimes; maybe being separated from the rest of the crew by John is holding her back. Nick, Sophie, and Steve are amazing--and so completely different from each other. Steve is quick-witted and a great punster, Sophie is completely off the wall, and Nick is sweetly incompetent.

I wish John would just let go. He doesn't even freak out when things don't go to plan, the way the also fiercely competitive Ed Gamble did. Taskmaster is a comedy of personalities, not a competition, no matter how much the stans freak out about every point Greg gives or doesn't give. If we don't get people playing off of each other in team tasks and in the studio, we really have nothing. Maybe John needs what Mae had--a Frankie Boyle to argue with them over the minutest word meaning, and a Kiell to look disgusted about their annoying competence.
posted by ceejaytee at 11:11 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]

I know the prize task is kinda sorta scripted (having seen the bloopers, in general), but I still lost it at how much Alex was losing his cool at the panelists calling it their gift to Greg this week.
posted by Kyol at 12:14 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]

Joanne also could not stop calling it "gift for Greg" on the podcast. I love things that genuinely piss Alex off (see also: Greg allotting team points in ways that don't add up to five) so this whole thing delights me.

I thought the Thumb War task was an all-timer—anything that elicits that kind of range is great. And the hamper task also had a nice early-TM vibe (a la the "put 50 different things in this bin" task from s7). It sometimes feels like they must have run out of ideas for simple tasks that create good TV—but of course they haven't!

I'm told that Inside No. 9 fans had already cracked Steve's cryptic crossword pseudonym and thus realized what was going on back when the puzzle was published last September—before this season's lineup was even announced. You can solve it here! But you probably won't! I've solved exactly one clue so far and I've done a nonzero amount of cryptics (the amount is hard to define because I've assisted with many but never finished one).
posted by babelfish at 7:26 PM on May 3

Was looking up contestant ages because I was curious how much older Steve was than the rest of the field, given how much shit they were giving him this week. I only know Sophie from this show so I was staggered to find out that she's only 36. Somehow she gives the impression of being 20 years older than that.
posted by merriment at 9:01 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]

You can solve it here! But you probably won't!

I got about 7 before giving up. I've finished cryptics before but not the guardian one.
posted by juv3nal at 3:09 PM on May 4

Somehow she gives the impression of being 20 years older than that.

My wife and I have been regularly commenting to one another that we can't believe she's younger than us. I'm not totally sure what it is.
posted by synecdoche at 3:28 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]

I have to admit that I was lukewarm on this cast after the first couple of episodes, but they are turning out to be pretty fun. Not my favourite, but definitely very enjoyable.
posted by synecdoche at 4:04 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]

Sophie and Morgana Robinson come from the same "looks like a remarkably well-preserved woman of 20 years older" drawer. Morgana was 38 or 39 at the time of the s12 record—a full decade younger than Victoria!
posted by babelfish at 7:29 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]

> I only know Sophie from this show so I was staggered to find out that she's only 36. Somehow she gives the impression of being 20 years older than that.

Two things:
* I think it's her hairstyle and eye makeup, and I'd go into more detail but -
* I'm a dude, and when I talked to a friend about this I they politely said "You are kinda the wrong gender to be throwing shade."
posted by Pronoiac at 11:18 AM on May 10

Random thoughts on the latest episode:

1) They left out the deliberately awkward banter between Greg & Alex at the beginning.
2) The string task was a rather weak.
3) Steve's prize task entires are jolly clever and all but just don't seem very ... taskmastery? I love all his own projects, but he still feels like a poor fit for this show.
4) Reflections of Nick's forearms were visible in the table's shiny surface at a couple of points in the music task.
5) The live task was wonderful.
6) I'm glad Nick finally won an episode.
7) Sophie rules.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:00 PM on May 10

I liked the string task just because of Nick's sheer enthusiasm as he breezed through it. He's been my unexpected favorite this season. I feel like we have three groups of contestants this time:

- Joanne and Sophie are traditional Taskmaster contestants. They don't know much about the show but they're comedians and they try to make things funny and entertaining.
- Steve and John are taskmaster fans who know all about the show and came with some ideas and skills. They're trying to win more than to be funny.
- Nick is an ordinary person who thought he was invited to a Fancy Dress party, came as Dracula, and was surprised to find himself on a TV show. He still has no idea what's going on.

If you've watched "The Good Place", Nick is like the Jason Mendoza of this show... I'm glad he won an episode!
posted by mmoncur at 4:47 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]

This is the second time John has created a new sealed TM letter as a prop in his own task. Combined with his constant tryhard participation, he's clearly treating it as an audition and it's not endearing.

Question: you are a contestant on TaskMaster and Alex asks you to name three random things, including a specific body part. Do you name "hands," and if so, do you expect to keep them unharmed?
posted by pwnguin at 8:40 AM on May 11

I thought the musical instrument task this week was wonderful and I'm so glad Nick won an episode. He absolutely is an intrepid mouse.

My personal choices for the orange squeezing task would have been a whisk, my hands, and a spade, so I would have done ok. But I also thought there was a 50/50 chance that whatever body part was named would be out of commission instead of the only thing you could use.

Pronoiac, I think you're spot on regarding the specifics around Sophie's styling and, since I guess I'm the correct gender, I issue you a special dispensation to be right, here. I don't think it's shady, either! I think it's a fascinating effect, because I legitimately thought Sophie was in her 50s.
posted by merriment at 8:45 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]

1) They left out the deliberately awkward banter between Greg & Alex at the beginning.

Thankfully it reappeared in Outtakes Part 3
posted by mmoncur at 11:32 PM on May 11

Outtakes must be viewed for the spectacle of Greg lifting Nick out of the tower of inner tubes.
posted by merriment at 8:47 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]

I love John's drive for excellence as well as how he plays with Alex using a yes-and Taskmaster fan approach, like creating another task card.
posted by brainwane at 9:04 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]

John feels like what would happen if Taskmaster recruited contestants from the public in the manner of "Countdown" or "American Ninja Warrior" -- everyone who showed up would be big Taskmaster fans who had studied every season and they'd be gaming the system and looking under the table every task and it would be a completely different show.

I don't mind having just one of him though.

Greg lifting Nick out of the tower of inner tubes

Greg's charming relationship with his favorite nephew Nick is the unexpected highlight of this series.
posted by mmoncur at 3:39 AM on May 13

I agree that it would be a completely different show if everyone had the same approach, whether that approach was "clown" or "compete" or "faff about," and that it's pleasing to have the contrast!

I think it's interesting how much the show's executives and staff have to juggle, to simultaneously trade off the 3 levels of (1) making an entertaining TV show, (2) running and maintaining a workable system of games, and (3) taking adequate care of each performer's ego. I'd be fascinated to read or watch behind-the-scenes stuff where Horne and other show staff talk about that balancing act and what they do during cast selection, after the filmed tasks, and while planning the studio episodes to make it all work together. Like, if one has watched all the UK episodes, it seems pretty reasonable to infer that Horne et al. figure out before the studio episodes who the last-place contestant will be, and try to sort of gerrymander the placement of the filmed tasks so that there's an episode stocked with ones where they do unusually well and are set to likely win that episode. And of course it must be quite a job to edit the footage of the filmed tasks such that it feels like there's roughly equal time for each performer, when they likely are very different in how much time each one spends being obviously entertaining.

Like, the two significant moments of spontaneous real-seeming frustration I can remember seeing Alex Horne are both kind of about his finely-tuned in-studio tasks being thwarted. In the current series, contestants needling Alex about the "prize" being a "present". And previously,

Spoiler for Series 13 of Taskmaster
when Judi Love confesses that she panicked and lost track of how many cans she'd put into a bag during a live onstage task, Alex throws back his head in silent frustration

And, when I watch the outtakes, there's something also fascinating about the, like, Steve Martin/Andy Kaufman style of no-punchline comedy he sometimes does during the banter session with Greg. He has created, in Taskmaster, a set of intricate and orderly containers for disorder, and he takes one of those containers and uses it to tease and prank Greg with the absence of structured comedy.

But back to the question of John! In the most recent episode I absolutely loved the full-head-neck-and-torso shrug he delivered after his classical music performance, as I enjoyed in a previous episode his astonished repetition to himself that the portrait he made wasn't actually that bad. He's hilariously fascinating to me as someone with high standards who has trouble knowing whether or not to trust his own assessment that he has done pretty well at something.

btw, pwnguin, sometimes I run across people using "tryhard" as an insult. It has never really made sense to me. Maybe I could ask you to explain? Maybe, given the context here, it sort of means, "visibly putting effort into something where etiquette/norms/aesthetics demand that you either don't make an effort or hide that you're making an effort," or "noticeably trying to not only achieve something, but to emphasize your own level of effort as though that should also be rewarded," or "participating in a way that implies inappropriately attempting to be admired or socially included by people higher in status," or something like that?
posted by brainwane at 6:55 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]

btw, pwnguin, sometimes I run across people using "tryhard" as an insult. It has never really made sense to me.

Well, the urbandictionary top definition seems to nail it: "Somebody whose effort level and emotional investment is excessively high for the level of play in which they are competing."

I take it to be the sort of insult derived from the slacker community. I think my first introduction to the term was this MtG video featuring Allie Brosh. Reddit etymology suggests may have originated in Australia, but seems to made the leap globally via gaming, where there's a balancing act between competition and entertainment.

Within the context of TaskMaster, while there is scoring, the point of the show is entertainment, and especially comedy. You aren't there to "solve" the task, but to fail in some spectacular fashion. If there's a clever bit about the answer being written on the wall behind them, that's a joke between Alex and the audience primarily. As has been said upthread, John's approach has favored winning over funny. It's fine I guess, since there's four other contestants to carry the show, but I think I'd prefer the person writing love letters to the format demonstrated what made it endearing.
posted by pwnguin at 10:09 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]

You're using assessment words like "is"/"aren't" more than you're talking about your own subjective preferences, and I think you and I will simply have to agree to disagree about things like whether John's performance is endearing (I find it endearing and you don't) and whether it's fun to watch someone figure out something like an answer being written on the wall behind the contestants (you don't like it, I do).

Similarly, the derogatory slang term implies that the speaker has determined that there IS an objectively correct level of emotional investment and effort for that level of play; sounds like you and I disagree on our assessments there too, which is part of the grand tapestry of life and yay for differences!

On a completely different note: I do not know what classical piece I would try to replicate on such short notice but I find it very likely it would be something I had first heard via Looney Tunes.
posted by brainwane at 12:16 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]

I do not know what classical piece I would try to replicate on such short notice...

I absolutely would have gone for Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, so I was thrilled to see Nick do such a good job with that selection.
posted by merriment at 1:42 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]

My instinct was to go for Also Sprach Zarathustra (recognizable with 5 notes) or Beethoven's 5th (recognizable with 2) but then again I would be a terrible Taskmaster contestant because that wouldn't be the slightest bit entertaining...
posted by mmoncur at 12:00 AM on May 14

I take it to be the sort of insult derived from the slacker community

I think the idea behind it is much older than that. In a British context, at least, the idea passed down from the aristocracy is that success should look effortless. It's not the effort itself that's condemned, but the vulgarity of letting that effort show. What they call vulgar, the rest of us come to think of as uncool.

David Mitchell recently addressed this in The Guardian.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:10 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

Wow, Nick and Steve usually have it together, but that team task went off the rails fast. Probably too occupied with the secret task to actually read the new task?

But they both do a good job on the mannequin tasks. Steve's take on Mannequin seems so be about on par with Rotten Tomato's rating of the actual film, with easily half the budget!
posted by pwnguin at 3:03 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

Sophie’s beatboxing German shepherd was ROBBED!
posted by babelfish at 1:40 PM on May 18 [4 favorites]

Sophie’s beatboxing German shepherd was ROBBED!

Agree. I am extremely biased against John (he is often sour faced when other contestants get more points than him, and it puts me off) so take this any way you like, but I don't think dancing with a mannequin was particularly creative. He's got that eager-to-please the teacher Taskmaster thing going on, and Greg eats that up.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:01 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]

I enjoy John's performances, usually, umbrella, but I found his mannequin dance uninspiring. And I thought Greg ought to have given Sophie a much higher score for her beatboxing were-woman. Immediately after watching, I scrolled down to the YouTube comments to find where umbrella folks would be complaining of the injustice!

The Nick and Steve watermelon-on-table team task was AMAZING. And yeah, pwnguin, I agree, I think their multitasking caused them to fail to concentrate hard enough on core umbrella task activities such as solidly comprehending the task upon first reading.

I do enjoy the "secretly do x during a team task" extra task more than I would like a Kearns-esque "sabotage your team" extra task.

posted by brainwane at 11:12 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]

Sophie’s beatboxing German shepherd was ROBBED!

I thought Greg was a bit hard on her menopausal Gloria Gaynor fan too.
posted by Paul Slade at 8:51 AM on May 24

I thought Greg was a bit hard on her menopausal Gloria Gaynor fan too.

Those were easily the things I've laughed the most at in this season! I'm a Joanne fan but when Sophie's absurdity hits it really hits.
posted by babelfish at 10:06 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]

The lower end of the alphabet (Nick, Sophie, and Steve) are my favorites this series. Nick's Assistant Day song was wonderful, up there with The Diverse Stripes' "(I Always See You) Doing Cool Stuff." Anytime Steve does a story, I am so happy, even when he completely misunderstands the task. Sophie's characters are incredible, and I think I'm in love with Nick.
posted by ceejaytee at 1:15 PM on May 24

Sophie’s beatboxing German shepherd was ROBBED!

I thought Greg was a bit hard on her menopausal Gloria Gaynor fan too.

Greg's not as big a bully as he used to be in previous series, but he definitely has taken against Sophie.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:26 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

I've been amused all season by Nick's lack of reflection, but the camera people and editors were really showing off in this episode with the mirror task.

"There was a man called Butch who broke this table." Love a callback.
posted by merriment at 5:57 AM on May 25 [3 favorites]

I'm almost loath to say it but... does anyone else feel like Alex and Greg's relationship is more genuinely barbed as time goes on? I know Greg always says that they get along off set and it's just when he's in Taskmaster mode that he finds Alex annoying, but I feel like he's been breaking off more to emphasize that he's genuinely irritated, and Alex has been more peevish in return. I hope I'm just reading into things!
posted by babelfish at 7:25 PM on May 29

I think you're probably reading into things. They vacationed together sort of recently, so if things have deteriorated it's a more recent development.
posted by juv3nal at 8:46 PM on May 29

They also appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers mostly out of character, and they talk about the barbs a bit. If they have any real trouble getting along they hide it well.
posted by mmoncur at 12:32 AM on May 30

I actually just saw a quote from Greg (but it was on Tumblr, so I'll never find it again), the gist of which was that he's actually been having a harder time lately performing annoyance with Alex, so in response, Alex has, of course, stepped up his campaign of genuinely annoying Greg.

I love their relationship so much.
posted by merriment at 5:44 AM on May 30 [4 favorites]

Okay phew—I watched the outtakes in perhaps an emotionally vulnerable state so I'm glad in this case to have been oversensitive.
posted by babelfish at 4:11 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]

spoiler for final episode
So Nick really is a wizard, huh.

posted by juv3nal at 4:30 AM on May 31

I'll come back with a more in-depth comment once folks have had a chance to watch the episode, but I must say that moment for moment, that was one of the most utterly deranged finales I've ever seen on TM.
posted by merriment at 8:07 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]

I love how genuinely happy Nick sounded when he remarked to Sophie:"I think that was my worst round ever." I much prefer his attitude to John's grim ambition.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:14 AM on June 1 [2 favorites]

OK, I'm back! Truly, that finale was wild, considering that the series winner was effectively a foregone conclusion.

- Steve wearing the real life version of his task costume!
- The horrifying return of Steve's special friend!
- Nick eats a cookie!
- Nick's American accent!
- Greg being alarmingly good at the live task! How the hell was he doing that?
- Sophie getting too excited by her victory and flashing her knickers by mistake!
- Nick's magic trick! I was astonished!

I know this series didn't hit as strongly for some folks, but I really enjoyed it. And here comes series 18!
posted by merriment at 10:19 AM on June 4

- Greg being alarmingly good at the live task! How the hell was he doing that?

Yeah, there's a couple of live tasks every season where Greg is basically doing that sort of thing, and he always does a lot better than you'd expect from random chance. I always wonder how much of that is in the edit.
posted by Kyol at 11:20 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]

My spouse has gotten "Step to the stage to guess the age to win the wage" stuck in his head and sings it aloud at least a few times a day now.
posted by brainwane at 4:03 PM on June 4

For anyone who needs a fix, for as long as it stays up what's aired of Taskmaster Australia series 2 is up on a non-official yt. (it's also available on dailymotion if that goes down). I'd place the AU one behind UK & NZ, but even sub par taskmaster is still more taskmaster. Series one is available from the official yt.
posted by juv3nal at 10:28 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]

There's a bonus episode to series 17 going out this week too. They seem to be structuring it as some kind of Taskmaster masterclass, building it around interviews with previous participants.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:01 AM on June 5

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