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Series / Taskmaster (NZ)

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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 golden head. Made from pure golden paint in a hugely uncomfortable molding process. I sure hope it was worth it!"
The Taskmaster, Jeremy Wells

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.

  • Season 1: Angella Dravid, Brynley Stent, Guy Williamsnote , Leigh Hart, Madeleine Sami
  • Season 2: David Correos, Guy Montgomery, Laura Daniel, Matt Heathnote , Urzila Carlson

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.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Guy Montgomery is prepared to credit Paul when a task is particularly devious, even though it means much harder work for him.
  • Angrish: Guy Mongtomery's reaction to Laura sabotaging him and David in a team task.
    Guy Mongtomery: Yea– tha– I mean– that was ju– you are a real FUCKING piece of work!
  • 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.
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  • Big Guy, Little Guy: 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.
  • 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 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 Blaster," 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.
  • Butt-Monkey: In grand Taskmaster tradition...
    • In Season 1, Guy Williams is singled out to take a proper maths exam and gets every question wrong.
    • In Season 2, David Correos gets suckered into untying hundreds of shoelaces and spends hours getting the task done.
  • 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 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.
  • The Cameo: The one and only Greg Davies, himself appears to berate Jeremy for being too nice as the Taskmaster.
  • 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.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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:
    • 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.
    • 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 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!
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • During one lab task, 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.
    • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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: 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.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: For Urzila's time travel task, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Jeremy frequently pokes fun at the television format in a deadpan fashion.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Loophole Abuse: 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.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Guy Williams talks a big game and frequently tries to get the studio audience to cheer for him, but usually falls short of winning his tasks.
  • Naked People Are Funny:
    • When 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 if 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.
  • One Steve Limit: Season 1 featured Guy Williams as a panelist while Season 2 featured 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • Paul offhandedly mentions that the tape measurer that he uses in "Gluten Free" to measure the distances the fruit is struck is from the Kiwi Tape Measurers brand and gives the link. 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).
    • Parodied 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.
  • Red Herring: This trope is memorably in full play for the final pre-recorded task in the series 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.
  • Running Gag:
    • As a nod to his outfit in his recorded tasks, Guy Montgomery wears a T-shirt with an Embarrassing Old Photo of Paul Williams in the studio recording, 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.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: The series two contestants are not shy to snipe at each other's lackluster attempts for tasks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Title Drop: The episode titles, like the show it takes after, are taken from various lines said during the episodes.
  • 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).


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