Taskmaster

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Taskmaster TV Poster Image
Creative celebrity challenge game show is lots of fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Contestants are encouraged to think creatively about challenges, which sends a positive message about brains, not brawn, rising to a challenge. Men and women compete on equal footing, and tasks emphasize problem-solving. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Watts is a critical but sharp and urbane host. His cohost Alex Horne tends to be the butt of jokes, like when one contestant calls him "smug, British, and just everything that's terrible." Contestants can be on the rowdy side, like when one calls Horne a "douchebag." 

Violence
Sex

Contestants let out the occasional rude riposte with a sexual edge: "Suck my d--k!" says one to a host. 

Language

Contestants frequently get annoyed with their tasks and curse: "piece of s--t!" "Dammit!" Other language includes "bitch," "douchebag," and "suck my dick"; "f--k" is bleeped.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Jokes may target drinking and drugs, as when one contestant says that during his task he "found a place to get a little high." 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Taskmaster is a game show with celebrity contestants who compete in strange yet harmless challenges. Language is infrequent but includes words like "s--t," "bitch," and "dammit!" usually when a contestant is frustrated with a challenge. "F--k" is bleeped but a contestant does tell a host to "suck my d--k" and calls him a "douchebag" (half-jokingly). Jokes may also circle around drug use, like when one contestant admits he "got a little high" during a segment. However, the mood is light, the cast is diverse with men and women competing on a level playing field, challenges emphasize style, creativity, and smarts. This is a good bet for whole-family watching for families with teens. 

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What's the story?

Based on the English show of the same name, the U.S. version of TASKMASTER is hosted by musician and comedian Reggie Watts, who has gathered a cast of 5 celebrities who compete against each other during the show's entire season. This time out, actor Freddie Highmore, comics Lisa Lampanelli and Kate Berlant, actor Ron Funches, and DJ Dillon Francis are on the spot, asked to perform bizarre challenges with creativity and style. The prize? The Taskmaster trophy, and the personal possessions of contestants, who either get to keep or must give up something beloved and important to them based on their standing each week. 

Is it any good?

Simultaneously smart and absurd, this American remake of the hit English game show is a gas. Taskmaster has done three things right: first, it imported Alex Horne from the original version, and the dry comic has great chemistry with the stern-seeming Watts. Second, the challenges contestants must undergo are entertainingly awkward and bizarre: getting a basketball to go through a hoop without using your hands, performing a stunt that will look entertaining when the film is viewed backwards, putting on a onesie in a tiny pop-up tent. And third, the celebrity contestants are both game and fun to watch. 

Of the cast, Ron Funches quickly emerges as the fan favorite, giggling his way infectiously through every ridiculous challenge. Bouncing on a tiny pony around a ring, he admits "I forgot what the challenge is!" During a pause in one challenge, filmed sitting in contemplation, Watts notes that he found himself "a thinking spot," while Funches says that he found himself "a place to get a little high." Given the tone of this show, it might have improved his game, who knows? This series is a bit too naughty for tweens, but teens weaned on YouTube challenges might find this amusing to watch. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the benefit of appearing on a show like this. Why would a celebrity appear on a show like Taskmaster? Since they don't earn money, what would be the motivation? 

  • Do you think all the celebrities featured on Taskmaster actually like each other? How can you tell? Do they act like they like each other?

  • Do you think the celebrities on Taskmaster really give up their personal possessions? What would you give up if you had to do this for a challenge? 

TV details

For kids who love game shows

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