One of my favourite TV discoveries of 2016 has to be Taskmaster. It’s the brainchild of Alex Horne, which sees a selection of comedians being set ridiculous tasks by the bullyish Taskmaster Greg Davies.
- Paint a picture of a horse, while riding on a horse
- Fill an egg cup with tears
- Conceal a pineapple on your person
It’s a brilliant show, which puts people in bizarre situations and tests their creative interpretation of the tasks. And this Christmas we decided to recreate it with my family.
We went easy on them.
The results were as follows:
Christmas Eve: Prize Task
Three weeks before Christmas each family member was sent their first task:
Bring the trendiest item costing exactly £2.34″
The prizes would be gathered together, to become the final haul that the ‘lucky’ winner would take home. And each contestant was awarded points for their effort.
Dad’s prize was a garish heart shaped lollipop and a toy kaleidoscope, which cost the princely sum of £2.29. Thus it failed on both trendiness and cost. He argued that the wrapping cost 5p, but given that he couldn’t prove his claim, and also that the price label was on top of the wrapping, I highly doubted it! Last place. 1 point.
Since the labels on clothing often determine whether or not an item is considered trendy, Mum decided to bring a set of nametags, to be sown into clothes. In her defence she argued that they have been used for many generations, having never gone out of vogue. Indeed, the very set she brought appears to have been a vintage example, if the dated packaging is anything to go by! It was also accompanied by a receipt proving the exact price, but given the scant details on the receipt, some of her fellow contestants dared to suggest that she may have asked a friendly cashier to produce a fake. Third place. 2 points.
Karen demonstrated surprising lateral thinking and interpreted the brief in an unusual manner. Her offering was a temporary tattoo, reading #£2.34. Her reasoning, in a nutshell, was that a) a hashtag is a trend, and b) the brief didn’t say the item had to actually cost £2.34. Sadly, that’s exactly what the brief said! And since Karen refused to tell us how much the tattoo actually cost her, she missed out on first place. 3 points.
‘Trendy’ is relative, and since Shane lives in a seaside town largely populated by elderly people, he argued that his ugly necklace, which looked like it was comprised of stuff that had washed up on a beach, was bang on trend. There was one slight problem – namely the price tag which read £2.00 and clearly had +34p written on in Shane’s handwriting. But when questioned, he said that he took the exact money into his local charity shop and asked the cashier if he could pay over the odds for the necklace. When she refused, and was baffled by the concept of the prize task, Shane just put the extra money in her hand, grabbed the necklace and ran out of the shop. No doubt he is now barred from his local charitable establishment, and for that he deserves 4 points.
So behold, the treasure trove of tat that was available for whoever would emerge victorious from the next two tasks:
Christmas Day: Team Task
Christmas morning was unseasonably warm, which made it perfect conditions to take the family out to the garden and split them into pairs for a team task:
With hands tied behind your backs at all times, each team must separate half a dozen eggs into three bowls: white, yolk and shell. You have three minutes.”
Turns out three minutes was generous, as one team finished a good 1.15 early, and the second team finished shortly after, despite one member having an unfortunate encounter with a pet… as this rudimentarily edited video shows:
Boxing Day: Individual Task
We entered into the final task with all to play for…
Using the contents of this box, create the best self-portrait. You have 20 minutes. Your time starts now.”
The box in question contained a selection of produce, including fruit, vegetables, angel delight and instant mashed potato. Yum.
Of course, the task didn’t say the contestants could only use the contents of the box, so some of them took the initiative to source other items and implements to help them in their task. The results were… well… quite special.
Dad took a clean, minimalist approach to his self-portrait, with beautifully carved carrot features, cress hair, and a parsnip nose.
The brussels sprout ears were particularly delightful, though the stalks on the radish eyes made it look like he had a nasty eye infection. And for some inexplicable reason, he neglected to make glasses.
But all in all, a decent attempt. And the only vegan friendly portrait of the lot.
Mum was the only contestant who went for a 3D self-portrait, with bulbous radish eyes, jagged egg shell teeth, and aubergine skin glasses.
She took the ingenious (though messy) decision to make a glue out of instant mashed potato and raw egg, and even replicated the collar of her jumper out of mash.
More terrifying than a trumpkin.
Karen created a face out of angel delight, and added some wool of her own to fashion the hair.
Eyes were lychee, topped with sprout skin. The teeth were shaved radish, framed by parsnip lips. And aubergine skin was used to create the eyebrows and a selection of freckles, many of which were accurately placed.
Shane was the only one to attempt a full body self-portrait, and I really wish he hadn’t.
The base of his body was mashed potato, with limbs constructed from strips of carrot. Hair, beard and nipples were made of cress, and the hands and feet were carved from parsnip, with the correct number of fingers and foot fingers cut into them.
That, however, is where the commitment to accuracy ends. The parsnip six-pack and lychee and carrot unmentionables were so exaggerated as to be utterly unbelievable.
For wishful thinking and creating an unpleasant mental image I couldn’t shake for the rest of the day, Shane was put in last place. 1 point.
Since dad lost his glasses, he received 2 points, whilst Mum’s jack-o-lantern creation earned her 3 points. In first place was Karen, whose portrayal was certainly the most accurate of the four.
So at the end of the three tasks, Mum, Dad and Shane were tied on 7 points, whilst Karen raced ahead with 11 points, making her the ‘proud’ winner of (allegedly) £9.36 worth of tat.
Merry Christmas! Roll on 2017…