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The almighty Taskmaster (Jeremy Wells) and his Assistant (Paul Williams)
"For ten weeks, five comedians will seek my approval by doing things I've asked them to do. Why they're doing this? For attention, I suppose. Some probably need the money...and all of them want this...my golden head. Made from pure golden paint in a hugely uncomfortable molding process. I sure hope it was worth it!"
The Taskmaster, Jeremy Wells
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Taskmaster is a New Zealand adaptation of the UK-hit Taskmaster. It premiered on TVNZ in 2020.

This iteration features Jeremy Wells as the almighty Taskmaster, with Paul Williams as his socially awkward assistant. Five comedians must take part in various tasks set in and around the Taskmaster Ranch. These tasks require quick and lateral thinking, with the comedians being given points and the highest scorer earning the right to take home prizes of dubious quality and value.

At the end of the series, the overall winner gets to claim the coveted Taskmaster Trophy, a life-size mold of the Taskmaster's head.

    Contestants 
  • Season 1: Angella Dravid, Brynley Stent, Guy Williamsnote , Leigh Hart, Madeleine Sami
  • Season 2: David Correos, Guy Montgomery, Laura Daniel, Matt Heathnote , Urzila Carlson
  • Season 3: Chris Parker, Josh Thomson, Justine Smith, Kura Forrester, Paul Ego
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This adaptation provides examples of:

  • Acting for Two: invoked "At Your Service" features a task where the contestants have to play all the characters in a short film, with the winner being the one who plays the most distinct characters. David wins by playing 19 characters, pipping Guy Montgomery by one.
  • Actor Allusion: In the intro to "A Political Hotcake", Jeremy describes Paul as "the Newsboy to my Havoc". Havoc and Newsboy were a New Zealand comedy double act that Jeremy used to be part of (he was Newsboy).
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In "A Political Hotcake", following the playback of Guy and Leigh attempting the "keep a balloon in the air" task, Madeleine makes a suggestive joke about them having trouble keeping it up. They're both amused, and Guy gives her a standing ovation.
  • Angrish: Guy Montgomery's reaction to Laura sabotaging him and David in a team task in "Judgement Day".
    Guy Montgomery: Yea– tha– I mean– that was ju– you are a real FUCKING piece of work!
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  • Answer Cut: In "A Good Time, Not a Fast Time", a playback of Guy and Laura's attempts at a task ends with each of them conversing with Paul while he enjoys a snack of cookies and milk. In one conversation, Guy asks if Paul ever drinks the milk or just dips the cookies in it; this is followed by a cut to the other conversation where Paul immediately drinks the milk.
  • Anti-Nepotism: Guy Williams being Paul's brother does not get him any special advantage, it just make Paul likelier to show visible irritation when Guy misbehaves.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • In "Gluten Free", Leigh is set a task to be completed using only objects beginning with the letter M, but tries to sneak in various other objects, including a collection of musical instruments. In the studio, Jeremy asks Paul to list the items he used to see if any of them actually began with an M:
      Paul: ...a guitar, a tambourine, earmuffs, a hand, a ukulele, and — are you familiar with an instrument: a marimba?
      Jeremy: A marimba? Yes.
      Paul: Well, he didn't have that, he had a xylophone.
    • During the banter segment of "A Political Hotcake", Paul announces that his business is folding, then clarifies that he means he's started a new business based around origami.
    • In "Sweaty Socks and Depression", the prize task is to provide a thing that sounds really impressive until you see it. Angella's contribution is her "collection of nudes", which turns out to be a set of colour swatches in the pale-brown range referred to as 'nude'.
    • During the banter segment of "Eat Your Asses", Paul announces that he's going to be selling merch after the show, and brings out some samples of what he'll be selling — none of which is merch for Taskmaster.
  • Big Brother Bully: Guy Williams and Paul Williams are brothers, and Guy occasionally makes his younger sibling do demeaning things during tasks.
    Guy Williams: You're gonna want to switch the cameras off, because as soon as I get to him with this fucking frisbee, I'm going to assault him.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Angella does this to Jeremy twice in this series during the prize task rounds. In "An Intervention," the prize task is to bring in the worst thing to show the Taskmaster. Angella brings in a book filled with mean comments (all written by her) about how this show will not live up to the original and how Jeremy is a poor man's substitute for Greg Davies. In "Astro Blasters," the prize task is to bring in something that hasn't aged well — Angella brings in a floppy disk that contains a photo of an outdated hairstyle (an Embarrassing Old Photo of Jeremy with frosted tips) and claims that she would have brought in a current photo but she thought it would be too harsh. This works to Angella's benefit in the former episode and she got the full 5 points. The second time, however, she was penalised and only received 2 points.
  • Body Double: A task in "A Good Time, Not a Fast Time" has the contestants trying to find where Paul is hiding, made more difficult by the placement around the place of a dozen other men wearing his trademark outfit. The doubles, while of similar height, all vary in appearance which includes but not limited to "one with huge thighs", another tall and with blond hair and as noted by Guy, a particularly handsome guy with a handlebar mustache.
  • Boring, but Practical: In "Heat Stroke", four of the five contestants in the sunscreen task attempt various stratagems to improve their chances that go wrong in various ways and scupper their efforts, leaving the victory to the one contestant who does the task in the most simple and obvious way possible.
  • Brain Bleach: In "D.A.P.", Angella's attempt to make a tree look sexy involves getting Paul to do an awkward stripper routine around it. Jeremy's lead-in to the subsequent ad break has him suggesting that the break could profitably be used scrubbing the mental image out of one's head.
  • Brand X: The show goes to some length to avoid using brand names, so they opt to replace the brand names with something generic like "yeast spread" instead of Marmite and Human "War Boats" instead of Battleship.
  • Brick Joke: The first task in "Heat Stroke" — "Float this brussels sprout down from the balcony. Longest float time wins." — ends on an unresolved note, as two of the contestants creatively interpreted 'float' by floating the brussels sprout in water, with the sprout apparently capable of continuing indefinitely. In the studio, Paul reports that the two sprouts were left where the contestants had placed them, the two contestants are awarded ? points for the task, and the episode moves on. Two tasks later, the playback of David's attempt at the current task includes the moment when he came across Guy's still-floating brussel sprout and threw it away, not realising what it was, leaving Laura, the floater of the remaining sprout to claim victory.
  • Butt-Monkey: In grand Taskmaster tradition...
    • Season 1: Guy Williams is singled out to take a proper maths exam and gets every single question wrong. Jeremy, feeling sorry for him, gave Guy a rather undeserved pity point.
    • Season 2: David Correos gets suckered into untying hundreds of shoelaces, made worse with the giant shoelace spiderweb spanning the lab, and spend two hours and twelve minutes getting the task done to the standing ovation of the entire studio audience. This determination is then rewarded with an unprecedented five full points by the Taskmaster.
  • Call-Forward: In the Series 2 premiere episode, specifically in the background during David's and Guy's attempt to fly, one can see a blue bucket dangling from the balcony. This doesn't become relevant until next episode where the bucket is revealed as Laura's attempt for the "float the brussel sprout as long as possible" task and remained there for the rest of filming.
  • Calvinball: The last team task of season one, in "My Uncle John", takes place outdoors and is simply to "get to 10 points" while handcuffed to one another. There is a basketball hoop with a variety of balls, a 100-piece jigsaw puzzle, a mini trampoline, a box of comical costumes, and a tray of complimentary mints. The key to scoring a point is to give each other compliments. Of the two teams, Brynley, Guy and Madeleine figure the scoring method almost immediately, complete the task in 3 minutes, and then trash the props as they leave while Angella and Leigh take 4 minutes to score their first point and then complete the task in 47 minutes. They never determine the scoring method until the studio recordings - the clue to the scoring method was with the "complimentary mints" card.
  • Call-Back: In Season 2, Matt dons Angella's jumpsuitnote  from Season 1 for protection when he wades into the Taskmaster Pond. In Season 3, each contestant is provided with a jumpsuit patterned after Angella's task outfit.
  • The Cameo:
    • The one and only Greg Davies, himself appears to berate Jeremy for being too nice as the Taskmaster.
    • In the final episode of season two, one task featured a mysterious figure in a full-body animal mascot costume lurking in the background but not taking an active part. When eventually unmasked, it turns out to be Angella Dravid, the winner of season one.
    • Series 3 episode 7 sees the return of David Correos as part of a task.
  • Camera Abuse:
    • In "My Uncle John", Brynley's energetic climb over a fence topples the camera recording it.
    • During the fish-throwing task in "Unbung", one of Urzila's throws overshoots the target and hits the camera set up beyond it.
    • In "Feel My Bean", Guy's energetic but messy method of opening cans results in multiple cameras getting juice splashed on their lenses.
    • In "Eat Your Asses", Guy throws away his cricket bat and it hits one of the cameras.
  • Censored for Comedy:
    • In "D.A.P.", Leigh sings a song, but the music and lyrics are bleeped out with on-screen text explaining that they had to be censored for copyright reasons, with only Paul's dumbfounded reaction being shown on camera.
    • In Leigh and Angella's short film in "I'm Queer, I'm Here":
      Heroine: Why don't you go f[bleep]k yourself!
      Villain: You're going to regret saying that to me.
      Heroine: [nervous] Why?
      Villain: Because they'll bleep it out in the edit.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject:
    • In "My Uncle John", after Jeremy gives an uncomfortable answer to Brynley's joking offer to have sex in public, everyone waits an awkward beat before deciding to move as far away from the issue as possible.
    • In "Feel My Bean", Urzila's offering for the prize task is a gift voucher for a sex shop. The ensuing conversation quickly reaches a point where Paul asks awkwardly if they can move on to the next prize now.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: In "At Your Service", the team that would have won the team task is disqualified after one member of the team was caught on camera cheating.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The first video task in "Best Friends" is to create a new best friend out of a dummy and then to provide their friend a name and a background story. The dummy friends reappear in the last task of that episode, in which the contestants have to strike an apple off their best friends' heads. And then in the following episode, there is a task to hide the body of their best friend from Detective Paul Williams, with the longest time it takes to find the body winning.
  • Christmas in July: "Unbung", which originally aired in July, features a Christmas-themed task.
  • Comically Inappropriate Funeral Urn: In "My Uncle John", Guy's contribution to the prize task is the alleged ashes of his Uncle John in a tupperware container.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • In the banter segment of "Feel My Bean", Paul recounts how someone recently tried to sell him a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, and says he doesn't understand what the point of those would be when what he wants out of a pair of headphones is for them to produce noise.
    • In "Completing the Set", when Guy makes a phallic cake and tries to get Paul to say what it looks like, Paul's guesses are "a tree" and "a tall person on a bicycle".
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In the banter section of "Judgement Day", Paul does fake product placement for Paul's Key Emporium and Kiwi Tape Measurers, two fake companies he made up for tasks in earlier episodes.
    • Leigh Hart's attempt at painting a portrait of Jeremy (a task in which he mistook to mean painting a portrait of Paul) in the style of a five-year-old can be seen hanging in the stairwell in Season 3.
    • During the "pat Paul on the shoulder" task in Sweet Navel Orange, Paul Williams, looking through his camcorder from the balcony, pans over the sexy tree that was used in Season 1's "make this tree look sexy" task and remarks how sexy it is.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: In "Sweaty Socks and Depression", one task is to determine the flavours of a set of dips; they include combinations such as blue cheese & breath mints and a 'pine apple' dip made with pine needles & apple.
  • Description Cut: In "An Intervention", Guy struggles to open a suitcase containing the task, asks if it's a trick suitcase, and eventually says that surely everyone else will have as much trouble with it. Cue montage of every other contestant opening it without difficulty.
  • Did Not Think This Through: In "My Uncle John", Guy Williams launches into what he claims is a genuine family story, somehow forgetting that the Taskmaster's Assistant is his own brother who proceeds to call him out on the lie.
  • The Diss Track: The team task in "Eat Your Asses" is to perform a diss track about the other team. Even before we see their actual performances, the team of three take it very seriously. Special mention to David, who is so intense with his insults that Urzila jokes he will be put on watchlists.
  • Dissimile:
    • In "An Intervention", one task requires the contestants to put on an extra item of clothing each time they perform a particular action. Paul describes it as being "like strip poker, but reversed, and I'm there and I'm in a tree".
    • In "Sweaty Socks and Depression", Jeremy describes Paul when he introduces him as "my partner in crime, except I'm more his superior than his partner and we don't do any crime".
  • Dodgy Toupee: Brynley had to wear one for the studio segments of two episodes (as they're shot in blocks) because she needed to hide her real hair under a bald cap for an in-studio outlandish costume task.
  • Ear Worm: I wanna laminate this calendar day, eh!note 
  • Easter Egg: Referencing Rose Matafeo's comment from Series 9 of the UK original that all New Zealanders have a fish poster in their sheds, the shed in this adaptation features a fish poster hung on its back wall (visible in ad bumpers for "Unbung").
  • Embarrassing Old Photo:
    • In "Astro Blasters", Angella's prize entry under the category of something that hasn't aged well is a floppy disk that contains a photo of an outdated hairstyle, which was of Jeremy Wells with frosted tips.
    • In season two, Guy Montgomery's outfit during the recorded tasks includes a T-shirt that has a photo of a 14 year-old Paul Williams in the throes of puberty. Paul is especially surprised by this because the only existing copy of the photo in existence is in his mother's living room and suspects that somebody in his inner circle surreptitiously shared a copy with Guy. In the premiere episode "Flight of Fantasy," his in-studio outfit is another T-shirt with Paul's baby picture that he initially kept hidden under a different button-up shirt.
  • Epic Fail:
    • In "Completing the Set", the contestants are required to eat a grape the fastest. An escape maze-esque task ensues where the contestants are locked in the caravan and the grape is outside. First place goes to Laura, who finished in just over 16 minutes. Meanwhile, it took David 19 minutes just to spot the grape. He ended up dead last with a time of one hour and twenty-three minutes!
    • In "Judgement Day", Matt ends the onion tower task with a 'tower' only one onion high, having failed in all his attempts to get the onions to stay piled up. Impressively, David got an even worse result, with a 'tower' only two-thirds of an onion high.note 
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • During a lab task in "A Political Hotcake", the contestants have to smash a vase. Brynley, Guy, and Leigh all miss the second task hidden inside the vase and walk out thinking they'd completed the task successfully. Amusingly, even with the camera editing focused on the unopened second task envelope (and zooming into it multiple times) during their attempts, they don't even notice until Jeremy explicitly points out that they missed a task.
      Brynley: [Gasps, then points to Jeremy] Was there something inside the vase?
      Paul: I like that you still didn't see it. We literally just finished with a slow zoom on the second task.
      Guy Williams: I didn't even get it until she got it and you pointed it out to her, and now I'm feeling like I missed something.
    • Guy fails a more metaphorical spot check in "Sweaty Socks and Depression". One task is to be the fastest to "get someone you went to primary school with on the phone", which gives Guy an advantage since his brother is right there — but that completely fails to occur to him, a fact which Paul and Jeremy cheerfully mock him about for the rest of the task segment. It doesn't actually slow him down that much in the end, and he comes in second.
    • The final recorded task in "My Uncle John" contained a blatant example. The task took place in the lab, and on the table were two large sponge cakes, an array of sweets, and gherkins. Four of the five contestants proceeded to make the best desserts in the next 10 minutes, but they failed to look at the wording of the task properly, which stated that they had to make the best desert. Only Brynley noticed the spelling, completed the actual task, and received the full 5 points — Angella, Guy, Leigh, and Madeleine were all disqualified.
    • In "Completing the Set", there is an escape room task, with each contestant having to solve a series of puzzles to escape the caravan. At 21 minutes in, Guy has only one more object to find to complete his escape... and it takes him a further 26 minutes to find it, during which time he looks in the right place several times but fails to spot it.
    • In the same task, David takes 19 minutes just to locate the object mentioned in the task instructions, even though it wasn't hidden. That's longer than it took the winning contestant to complete the entire escape.
  • Finger Gun: At the end of a task in "Astro Blasters", Guy mimes shooting off finger guns as a celebratory gesture. After Paul asks him to stop, he makes a point of continuing until he's 'shot' every camera and crew member in the room. In the studio, Paul notes that he spent more time doing the finger guns than he spent on the actual task.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Paul and Guy Williams take on this dynamic in recorded tasks, with Paul exasperatedly trying to get Guy to focus on the task at hand while Guy cheerfully lumbers along.
  • Full-Name Basis: Paul often addresses the Taskmaster as "Jeremy Wells".
  • Fun with Foreign Languages:
    • For the time travel task in "Judgement Day", Urzila transports herself and Paul back to her school days in the 1980s. For the duration of the scene, she speaks entirely in subtitled Afrikaans, explaining that in those days she hadn't learned English yet, much to the confusion of Paul.
    • In "Best Friends," several of the dummy tasks for the comedians to find in the "camper full of tasks" task were in other languages, including French, Japanese, Māori, and Welsh. Justine, in particular, lost a great deal of time reading them out, although it helped her by chance, as she thanked Paul for complimenting her French pronunciation, thereby inadvertently completing the task before even finding it.
  • Gag Penis: Guy Montgomery's inappropriate wedding cake in "Completing the Set" consists of sponge cake in the shape of a dick with some lettering that boasts "I fucked your dad."
  • Gift Shake: A task in "Unbung" begins with the contestants each being asked to pick a gift from under a Christmas tree, the contents of which will affect how they do the rest of the task. Several of the contestants try shaking to the gifts to see if they can figure out what's inside.
  • Gilligan Cut: One of the tasks in "Eat Your Asses" is to completely "evacuate" all the items from a parachute whilst seated on a rocking chair, with the caveat being that once you sit down, your feet cannot touch the ground. The items were all spread about the parachute, and it is pointed out in the studio that the smart thing to do was to gather everything into one spot before sitting down on the rocking chair. Guy Montgomery and Laura's attempts are shown first, and they both sit down before reading the tasks. After an ad break and ahead of showing David and Matt's attempts, Paul spins this bit:
    Paul: Now previously on Taskmaster, Guy assumed that David would make the same mistake as him. Guy assumed wrong. David read the whole task standing up and was able to rearrange the chair and items as he saw fit. Here's him and Captain Two-Signs, Matt Heath.
    [Clip begins]
    David: Oh, my time starts now. [sits on chair] I shouldn't — I should be on here now.
  • Growling Gut: In "Completing the Set", Urzila's "extreme tea" for Paul (which was spiced with loads of chili powder and chili flakes) causes an audible gurgle from Paul's gastrointestinal tract, which Urzila jokes as his arsehole preparing for the impending eventuality.
  • Hands-On Approach: Laura attempts to invoke this during the 'perfect date' task in "Bing Bang Schlong", asking Paul to help her improve her basketball handling and backing up to him suggestively. He doesn't take the hint.
  • Helium Speech: In "Flight of Fantasy", David opts to use helium-filled balloons for his attempt at the flying task, and takes a moment before he starts filling the balloons to take a hit from the helium canister and talk in a funny voice.
  • Hidden Purpose Test: Some tasks are in two parts, with the nature (and often even the existence) of the second part revealed only after the first part has been completed. As in the original series, they may be set up so that doing well in the first part becomes a handicap in completing the real task.
    • In "A Political Hotcake", a task begins with the competitors being instructed to smash a vase as dramatically as possible. Doing so reveals a second task envelope that was hidden inside the vase, containing the real task: put the vase back together.
    • In "A Good Time, Not a Fast Time", the live task begins with the competitors being instructed to make a salad under a strict time limit. Similar to the vase task, the second part of the challenge is put all the salad ingredients back how they were at the start of the task. Afterward, Paul points out something that would have helped if any of the contestants had noticed it: the ingredients were originally laid out in alphabetical order.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: For Urzila's time travel task in "Judgement Day", she opted to play herself in the '80s, a time when she hadn't yet learned English. She proceeded to call over Paul and verbally abuse him in Afrikaans. She noted in studio that she hadn't told him she was going to do this, and he was absolutely lost the whole time.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Brynley's task submission for the "Thing The Taskmaster Doesn't Want To See" prize task in episode 7. It's a video of Greg Davies, the Taskmaster, berating him for giving the contestants too much freedom and leeway and demanding that he treats them with an iron hand. Unfortunately for Brynley, Jeremy takes Greg at his word... and gives her one point.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Not that the original is shy by any means, but differing social mores between the UK and NZ mean that the NZ version is more overt in its humor, with incidents like Angella, Leigh, and Madeleine riffing and making explicit jokes about Angella's genitals, or Guy, David and Laura doing an educational puppet show about puberty complete with large quantities of prop spoodge and menstrual blood.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: After Paul and the other contestants start tasting his prize submission in "My Uncle John", Guy is forced to reveal that they're eating kitty litter to get them to stop. In a subversion, it turns out they don't mind.
    Brynley: Actually quite good!
  • Incompatible Orientation: Madeleine occasionally makes sexual jokes about men before quipping that she doesn't know why she's making those jokes because she's married to a woman and has no interest toward men in that regard.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes:
    • Brynley's default attire when she performs her pre-recorded tasks in a mash-up of a Girl Guide and US Marine outfits, complete with sash and badges. However, everybody in the studio thinks that it makes her look like the Hitler Youth and makes the occasional comparison.
    • A task in "Sweaty Socks and Depression" is to surprise the Taskmaster in the studio recording for that same episode with the most outlandish outfit.
    • Chris Parker's outfit is designed to look like a park ranger's outfit, complete with the hat. Early on in Season 3, he also invites comparison to Hitler Youth.
  • In-Series Nickname: In Season 3, Paul Ego refers to Paul Williams as "P-Willy", presumably so they won't get confused.
  • Insult Backfire: In "Eat Your Asses," during the team task to write and perform a diss track of the opposing team, Matt devises a chorus that is supposed to be insulting to the other team and includes the phrase that inspires the episode title. Urzila quickly clues him to its more frequently understood meaning. They still perform the track with that chorus, though, much to Matt's dismay and everyone else's delight.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: In "Sweaty Socks and Depression", the dip-tasting task produces some interesting descriptions, especially Dip #1, which two different contestants describe as tasting like smelly feet. (To be precise, one describes it as tasting of "sweaty socks and depression", giving the episode its title.)
  • Kitchen Sink Included: The live task in "Gluten Free" is to pack a suitcase from a pile of miscellaneous objects, including a kitchen sink. Brynley immediately goes for it as the first object she tries to fit into her suitcase, but ends up not including it, which Jeremy lampshades while summing up the task.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Jeremy frequently pokes fun at the television format in a deadpan fashion.
  • Laser Hallway: For the 'heist of the century' task in "Bing Bang Schlong", both teams independently decide to spice things up with a laser grid around the painting they've been instructed to 'steal'; in both cases, the laser beams are represented by red yarn.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others:
    • Just as with the original series, any time a contestant's attempt at a task is shown last, it either goes incredibly well or incredibly poorly.
    • In "Sweaty Socks and Depression", one task has the contestants attempting to determine the flavour combinations in set of dips. In the studio, Paul lists what the dips actually contain, which are all weird combinations like pine needles & apple or blue cheese & breath mints... except for the last one, which is just an ordinary hummus dip.
  • Left It In:
    • During the 'commit a crime' task in "My Uncle John", one of Madeleine's 'crimes' is to break one of the rules of television by moving around in a way that forces the camera to turn and show the production crew in the part of the room that's usually out of shot. Paul calmly tells her that they'll just leave that out, but of course they don't.
    • During the 'extreme tea' task in "Completing the Set", Matt takes several attempts to land the tea bag in the tea cup from the upper balcony. The playback shows every attempt, followed by Matt asking Paul if it can be edited to make it look like he did it first try and Paul replying that it can.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • David Correos toned down his behavior for this shownote . His comedy is actually very reliant on shocking visuals and graphic sexual imagery.
    • Jeremy Wells is a much less belligerent Taskmaster than Greg Davies, both to underperforming contestants and to his Taskmaster's Assistant.
  • Limited Wardrobe: For continuity reasons, the contestants wear the same clothes throughout their tasks. Madeleine also wears the same lilac suit for all studio segments.
    Madeleine: It's the same suit...the same suit.
  • LOL, 69: Laura had a series total of 69 by "Unbung" in Season 2. Naturally, this didn't pass without comment.
    Paul: In first place, with the funniest amount of points you can have — 69 — Laura Daniel!
  • Long List: At the end of one of the tasks in "Unbung", David realises he's probably going to be scored badly, and tells Paul that on the studio date he'll be prepared to argue the point that he actually did much better than it would appear. In the studio after the playback, he says he has a few arguments to put forward, and pulls out a rolled up piece of paper — which he unrolls to reveal that it's long enough to stretch down to the floor and halfway over to the Taskmaster's chair.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • In "Gluten Free", one task is to hit an object as far as possible with one of a selection of bread products, with the stipulation that the contestant must use the first bread product they touch. Leigh thus gets stuck with a single slice of bread that he touched before reading the task, but he gives it some extra hitting power by sticking it on a tennis racket he fetches from the shed. Jeremy affirms that there ain't no rule saying he couldn't do that, and he wins the task.
    • In "A Political Hotcake", the contestants are told to keep a balloon in the air, but they must use a different object each time they hit it. Madeleine finds a petrol-powered leafblower and uses it to keep the balloon from touching the ground.
    • In "An Intervention", one task requires the contestants to find and then hit a distant target with a frisbee, with the restriction that they may not walk or run at the same time as carrying the frisbee. Brynley crawls, Madeleine rides a bicycle, and Angella kicks the frisbee along the ground in front of her, before deciding that's too difficult and stuffing it down the front of her shirt. The results: Madeleine wins the task; Brynley comes second; Angella is disqualified after Jeremy disallows her claim that she was wearing the frisbee instead of carrying it inside her shirt.
    • In "Sweaty Socks and Depression", one task is to be the fastest to "get someone you went to primary school with on the phone". Angella calls her mother, on the argument that her mother went to primary school with her every morning to drop her off. Jeremy allows it, and Angella comes in third.
    • In "Flight of Fantasy", one task requires the competitors to knock down a set of bowling pins in the middle of the spacious lawn, while remaining inside the caravan parked at the edge of the lawn. Laura asks for the caravan to be towed closer to the pins, while David asks Paul to move the pins closer to the caravan.
    • Also in "Flight of Fantasy", another task requires the contestants to brush Paul's teeth from the furthest distance. David sticks the toothbrush in Paul's mouth and ties it to the end of a very long rope, then pulls the rope, imparting a single brushing motion. Laura hands the toothbrush to one of the film crew and has her act as a proxy while Laura issues instructions over the phone. Outcome: Both attempts are ruled acceptable, and David and Laura come first and second — in that order, because Laura fails to take full advantage of the possibilities of 'over the phone' and remains close enough to see Paul... and closer than David was when he was at the end of his rope.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Guy Williams talks a big game, calling himself the "People's Champion", and frequently tries to get the studio audience to cheer for him, but usually falls short of winning his tasks.
  • Musical Episode:
    • Played with in "An Intervention". At the beginning of the episode, Paul sings a song announcing that this will be the musical episode and everyone will sing instead of talking. He's cut short by the Taskmaster, and the rest of the episode proceeds as normal.
    • Paul tries again the following season in "Bing Bang Schlong". He's shot down again, but this time the Taskmaster does at least let him demonstrate his tap-dance solo.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: While explaining the premise at the beginning of the second season premiere, Jeremy refers to the contestants as "these four prize-winning comedians, and Matt Heath". (Matt Heath is an actor, musician, and radio personality, but not noted as a comedian per se.) He also uses variants of the same joke while introducing the contestants in the next two episodes, but after that stops making the distinction.
  • Naked People Are Funny:
    • In "D.A.P.", tasked with making a tree look sexy, Guy decides to strip down to his underwear and climb up. Then, he decided what was missing was nudity and forced Paul to remove his underwear for him.
    • In "Heat Stroke," there is a task to completely renovate the room in 30 seconds under the cover of darkness, with that time starting as soon as one says "let there be dark." David reads it off the task and the lights immediately go out (a genuine mistake by the production crew - reading it off the card was never intended to be a trick on the contestants), and in a blind panic, he elects to strip down to his birthday suit in 12 seconds, thereby "changing the vibe" of the room. When he is told that it wasn't a trick, he still opts to settle for what he has already just done.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: A task in "Feel My Bean" is to open the bean tin. 145 tins have been arranged on a glass table, and the task is to find the bean tin among 144 other identical tins filled with tomato. Amusingly, the bean tin is the only one labelled "Not Beans."
  • Not So Stoic: Leigh Hart manages to crack Paul's facade in "My Uncle John" after serving him a surprisingly good cheese toasty. Paul reacts with genuine pleasure and cracks a real smile.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: In Laura's attempt at a multi-character film in "At Your Service", Paul is obviously playing her body double thanks to poor attempts at hiding his face, hair, and hairier arms.
  • Once a Season:
    • Unintentionally, but as of Season 2, every Taskmaster trophy has been knocked over and broken and subsequently has had to be repaired.
    • Paul Williams attempts to shoehorn in a musical episode one episode per season during the introductions, only to be quickly shut down by Jeremy. In "Bing, Bang, Schlong," however, he does allow Paul to do a quick tap-dancing break. And in an twist during Season 3's "Herbs and Spices," Paul announces that it will be a non-musical episode and sternly warns everyone not to sing.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • Season 1 features Guy Williams as a panelist while Season 2 features Guy Montgomery, requiring them to be distinguished by surname on this page.
      Youtube Comment: I’m beginning to get the impression that 1 in 5 New Zealanders is named Guy.
    • Season 3 features Paul Ego on the panel. He gets around this by addressing Paul Williams as "P-Willy".
  • Only So Many Canadian Actors: invoked Guy and Paul are brothers. Jeremy lampshades it in "Gluten Free".
    Jeremy: Now full disclosure, Paul is, of course, Guy's brother, which is either a piece of casting designed to create a fun sibling dynamic, or merely a reminder that New Zealand has about eight people in it.
  • On the Next: Each episode ends with a brief montage of moments from the following episode.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative:
    • In "A Political Hotcake", Paul introduces one of Guy's task attempts by describing him as "one of the top two Williams brothers".
    • In "Feel My Bean", the return after an ad break has Jeremy describing Taskmaster, in reference to the task at hand, as "the number one show on television to prominently feature 144 cans of tomatoes and one can of beans".
  • Painful Rhyme:
    • In "D.A.P.", while introducing Leigh's attempt at the sexy tree task, Paul rhymes "Leigh Hart" with "tree bark". Leigh visibly winces.
    • In the poetry task in "I'm Queer, I'm Here", one competitor produces an ode to Jeremy Wells in which the only words rhymed are "Wells" and various meanings of "well". It gets the minimum points.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The extravagant frothy creation Justine wore to the studio show in "Best Friends." It came in handy in highlighting her resemblance to the drag queen she brought as a doppelgänger, but was also just very much in keeping with her persona in any event.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: In "Flight of Fantasy," Jeremy compliments David's attempt at the flying task (in which the latter attached helium balloons to a photo of himself in a flying pose) by comparing it to Phileas Fog and Passepartout from Around the World in 80 Days. David, however, suggests that he is too young to understand the reference, and that a more up-to-date allusion would be the movie Up.
  • Product Placement:
    • In "Gluten Free", after Guy asks if the tape measurer that Paul uses was acquired in a way that supported local NZ business, Paul claims that it is from the Kiwi Tape Measurers brand and gives the web address. A quick look at the website, however, makes it clear that the site was made for the show (the tape measurer is purportedly perpetually sold out and Paul Williams himself gives the only testimonial).
    • During the banter segment of "The Problem Is Me", Paul wears a tshirt with the logo of a fictional phone app he claims to be launching.
    • Parodied in "My Uncle John" when Leigh brings in some Snacka Changi chips (a brand he has a stake in) for a prize task and Madeleine and Jeremy start mockingly shilling them directly to the camera.
    • Paul attempts to advertise both Kiwi Tape Measurers and Paul's Key Emporium in the opening of "Judgement Day" until Jeremy shuts him down since those two "companies" aren't paying for any advertising.
  • Prone to Tears: Angella looks perpetually as if she's on the verge of breaking into tears.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: When Paul is introduced for the first time, he simply reads "Banter here" off the autocue and stares straight ahead.
    Jeremy: We're meant to talk here. It just says "banter" — that's where we banter.
    Paul: It just says "Banter here".
  • Really Gets Around: Laura riffs on Guy Montgomery's inappropriate wedding cake (which has the boast "I fucked your dad") by claiming that it would be "completing the set" in her hometown of Palmerston North.
  • Record Needle Scratch: In "A Good Time, Not a Fast Time", one of David's task attempts goes so long that Paul starts reading him a fairy story to pass the time. A needle scratch on the soundtrack accompanies David's shocked reaction when the story reaches a detail that usually gets left out of modern sanitised retellings.
  • Red Herring: This trope is memorably in full play for the final pre-recorded task in the series 1 finale "My Uncle John." The lab table has a set up of a variety of treats, including ice cream, chocolates, spearmint leaves, sherbet, and gherkins. Angella, Guy, Leigh, and Madeleine are shown first and each one of them use the treats to create their best dessert. They do have some throwaway observations about how strange it is to have gherkins and two bowls of the same beige-coloured sherbet while making their desserts. After the clip ends, there is a closeup of the task language, which says "make the best desert." Because they completely overlooked this, all of them were disqualified. Brynley, however, was the only one who questioned the task and asked Paul to confirm what a desert was. Being the only one to complete the task at hand, Brynley deservedly received the full 5 points.
    Jeremy: Congratulations, Brynley, not only did you make the best desert, you made the only desert. To be fair, you could have just taken a big dump on that desert — still would have been the best desert.
  • Repeating So the Audience Can Hear: Paul introduces the phone task in "Eat Your Asses" by pretending to receive a call on an imaginary phone, and repeating what the caller tells him — first of all that it's time to show the next task, and then a commentary on how foolish he looks holding his hand up to his ear and pretending he's on the phone.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: At the end of the song-writing task in "A Political Hotcake", Guy attempts to spice up his long-winded and repetitive song by smashing the ukulele and acoustic guitar that had been provided for the task.
  • Room Escape Game: One of the tasks in "Completing the Set" has the caravan set up as an escape room, with the contestant locked inside and having to solve a series of puzzles to obtain the door key.
  • Running Gag:
    • In the first episode, every time Guy plays up (e.g. by proclaiming "five points!" for his own effort before Jeremy has had a chance to comment), Paul sarcastically congratulates him on being the first contestant in Taskmaster New Zealand history to misbehave in that way.
    • At various points in the first season, Paul refers to Leigh as "the wickedly talented Leigh Hart" while cuing up Leigh's task attempt. It's generally a sign that Leigh's about to be seen doing something that calls his competence into question.
    • In his recorded tasks, Guy Montgomery wears a T-shirt with an Embarrassing Old Photo of Paul Williams. During the studio recording, he reveals he has a series of these T-shirts, with a different photo each episode. He keeps it hidden underneath a different shirt or jumper until after the first ad break or task VT (with little fanfare until either Jeremy or Paul comments on the shirt). When interrogated on where he sourced the shirts, he will reply with "the shops."
      Paul: I feel like I should interject — I swear [Guy] wasn't wearing that shirt before, but that is a photo of me again.
    • Throughout Season 2, all the contestants complain about the stench from the pond at the Taskmaster Ranch and presume that it might be sewage, although for legal reasons, Paul has to remind everyone that the Taskmaster Pond is definitely not sewage. By Season 3, everyone is referring to the pond as the "Taskmaster Poo Lake."
    • For the 'perfect date' task in "Bing Bang Schlong", Guy takes Paul to a series of romantic foreign locales (via the magic of green screen), and at each offers Paul a popular local drink, starting with pina coladas in Miami... and then everywhere else they go, the popular local drink always turns out to be pina colada again, because that's the only drink Guy has on hand.
  • Schmuck Bait: In "A Good Time, Not a Fast Time," contestants walked into the lab to find two microwaves on two tables with two jugs of milk on top, and the task on the floor. When they went to pick it up, Paul warned them that they shouldn't open it and to trust him on that, even though the clock was running. Faced with their time increasing and nothing to distract them from it, almost none of the contestants lasted more than a few minutes before giving in and opening the task. It turned out to be to hold the milks above their respective microwaves, longest time wins. Everyone but David, who waited over an hour, regretted not trusting Paul.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: In "Feel My Bean", Guy gets distracted during an outdoor task when Paul shoos away a bee that flew too close to his face, leading them to spend several minutes in irrelevant conversation about the good work bees do and whether they're aware that the ecosystem is in danger of collapse.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the intro to "A Political Hotcake", Jeremy compares himself and Paul to Batman and Robin, Pooh and Piglet, and New Zealand comedy double act Havoc and Newsboy.
    • "D.A.P." is a reference to "W.A.P." by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion.
    • In "Unhealth Must Be Dead", one task must be completed by the contestant without using their hands; Leigh goes a step beyond by not only donning a straitjacket but adding a mask and having a production assistant wheel him around in imitation of Hannibal Lecter.
    • For the "outlandish costume" task in "Sweaty Socks and Depression", Brynley reveals that she is dressed as Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, complete with a bald cap and the One Ring.
    • The flying task in "Flight of Fantasy" results in shout-outs to the flying monkeys of The Wizard of Oz, the ballooning scene in Around the World in 80 Days, Up, and the magic carpet ride in Aladdin.
    • Coming back from the ad break in the midst of the wedding cake task in "Completing the Set", Jeremy says it's like a wedding episode of Shortland Street.
    • During the inappropriate wedding cake task in "Completing the Set", Laura suggests that the crowning touch for her inappropriate cake would be for Paul or one of the other male crew members to "go American Pie" on it.
    • In "Judgement Day", one task requires the contestants to make a moving speech; Laura's is a heartwarming anecdote that bears a striking resemblance to the plot of Finding Nemo in which coincidentally had a fish called Ellen.
    • For the time travel task in "Judgement Day", Matt dresses as a Roman legionary and misquotes the famous speech from Gladiator, while Laura dresses herself and Paul as Doc and Marty, converts Paul's car into a time machine that travels when it goes 42 km per hour, and gets a warning about trademark infringement when she uses the phrase "Back to the Future".
    • For the 'perfect date' task in "Bing Bang Schlong", Laura attempts to re-enact the spaghetti kiss from Lady and the Tramp.
    • The live task in "Sauce Tits" is an extended shout-out to Rose Matafeo's shed-mounted fish poster in the UK Taskmaster.
    • Chris brings in a mysterious box for the prize task in "Well, Alright!", which invites comparisons to the famous "what's in the box" scene in the film Se7en. While the box did not contain Gwyneth Paltrow's head, it did contain the body of Chris's dummy friend Sacky.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: The series two contestants are not shy to snipe at each other's lackluster attempts for tasks.
  • Springtime for Hitler: For the 'commit a crime' task in "My Uncle John", Leigh attempts to commit a culinary crime by making a cheese toastie with the wrong kind of cheese and a variety of condiments he doesn't consider belong in a toastie. The result is praised by Paul as the best cheese toastie he's ever tasted, and even Leigh himself admits it tastes so good it makes up for the fact that he's comprehensively failed the task.
  • The Stoic: During "D.A.P.", everyone notes that Paul rarely reacts outwardly.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike:
    • In "Bing, Bang, Schlong," there is a task to devise a method of wearing a tie in the most innovative way. Both David and Guy decide to wear their ties as loin cloths, which barely cover their privates and have to be blurred. While David slowly reveals his thong, Guy dispenses with any pretense and walks straight into the lab.
    • The same episode has an orienteering task, requiring the contestants to follow instructions like "Walk north half the length of a blue whale". Both David and Matt attempt to determine north by licking a finger and sticking it in the air.
  • Stock "Yuck!": In "Heat Stroke", Jeremy asks for a 'tasty task', and Paul says apologetically that all he has is a task featuring brussel sprouts.
  • Subliminal Seduction: In "Feel My Bean," Laura crafts a recruitment video to make her hometown of Palmerston North proud (to the "Palmy Army") against disparaging remarks that comedian John Cleese made about the town. Towards the end of the clip, she looks into the camera and starts repeating "ESEELC NHOJ ETANIMILE," before saying "Eliminate John Cleese" and threatening to cut his throat.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In the banter segment of "Astro Blasters", Paul asserts that the saying "Rome wasn't built in a day" constitutes a suspiciously specific denial, particularly since people often come out with it when the conversation wasn't even about Rome or building, and claims that he now suspects there's a conspiracy to cover up the fact that Rome was built in a day.
  • Take That!: In "Bing Bang Schlong", the prize task is for things that look edible but really aren't; Urzila's submission is Pineapple Lumps.
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    • During the sculpture task in "Gluten Free", Leigh declares (in the context of knowing when it's time to call an artwork done) that Leonardo da Vinci didn't spend all his time fiddling with the Mona Lisa, then backtracks to make sure it's clear he meant the painting Mona Lisa and not the woman it's a portrait of.
    • In "Unhealth Must Be Dead", Madeleine reflects on getting carried away using a leaf blower in a task: "I had a bit of a love affair with the leaf blower — that doesn't sound good, does it? No, that came out funny."
    • Also in "Unhealth Must Be Dead", Angella makes a joke about German death porn that comes out sounding iffy, and her attempt at a retraction just sounds worse.
    • In "At Your Service", Laura makes a comment about looking forward to receiving the Taskmaster's head (meaning the trophy), then looks mortified when she realises how it sounded.
  • Time Passes Montage:
    • In "The Problem Is Me", Leigh finds out during the "make the biggest object disappear" task that it's bin collection day, so he puts the recycling bin out for collection and calls that the object he's making disappear. This is followed by a montage of shots of Paul waiting by the bin to establish how long it takes for the contents of the bin to be collected.
    • Also in "The Problem Is Me", once Leigh and Angella hit their groove in the liquid-transfer task, it switches to a montage of them continuing to transfer liquid using the same method.
    • In "Astro Blasters", while Guy struggles with a maths test, there's a montage of him in various hard-thinking poses. At the end it's revealed that he's still on the first question.
    • In "A Good Time, Not a Fast Time", there are several time lapse montages during David's extremely lengthy solo task.
  • Title Drop: The episode titles, like the show it takes after, are taken from various lines said during the episodes.
  • Too Much Information: In "Completing the Set", Urzila's explanation of her inappropriate wedding cake — in the shape of a toilet bowl containing blood-speckled faeces — quickly gets into uncomfortable territory, becoming more disconcertingly personal the more Paul tries to change the subject.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: Taskmaster (NZ) is the second English iteration after the US version, and the eighth internationally, of the original UK series. However, it is the only version to completely use original tasks, not recycled or slightly-altered ones derived from the main series. Otherwise, there are minor differences from the original run like how Greg Davies' and Alex Horne's roles of being The Taskmaster and the assistant are taken up by Jeremy Wells and Paul Williams respectively, the Taskmaster trophy is a bust of Jeremy's likeness, more sexual jokes and the occasional extra task in the regular format (Six tasks, usually a fourth pre-recorded task, instead of five).
  • Trivially Obvious: In "Feel My Bean", Paul describes Matt as "without a doubt, one of the people on this show".
  • The Vitruvian Pose: During the prize task in "Flight of Fantasy", one of David's photos demonstrating the utility of his prize (a green screen) shows him posing on top of the Vitruvian man sketch in several layered poses giving him four pairs of arms and legs.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: For the time travel task in "Judgement Day", Guy makes a short film in which he travels back to 1918 and kills Hitler to prevent World War 2. On being asked why he didn't go further back and kill Hitler as a baby, Guy replies that he would never kill a baby — at least not while being filmed for national television.

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