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Damn You, Defector, For Forcing Me To Rewatch ‘Taskmaster’ Out Of Envy And Cussedness

Still image from the TV show Taskmaster.
Photo via @Taskmaster

When Fran Hoepfner wrote her Taskmaster piece that was posted on Your Favorite Blogheap on Friday, I had a moment of paralyzing envy based on the Four Levels Of Writer Self-Absorption:

  1. “Why the hell didn’t I think of that?”
  2. “Because I’m an idiot.”
  3. “I couldn’t have done it any better, probably would have done it worse, and now I feel inadequate as well as lazy, uncreative and stupid.”
  4. “I need wine. Yes it’s only 6:45 AM, but damn it to hell, a writer must suffer for someone else’s superior art.”

That the first alternate voice in my head did not muster any kind of a rebuttal to any of the above points speaks to the inherent flaws in self-therapy, but the real problem was another, more irksome development. In keeping with well-agreed-upon quarantine protocols that include binge-watching things previously seen, I had now mentally committed myself and my bride (who has asked for anonymity for the obvious reason) to approximately 71 1/4 hours of Taskmaster between now and the start of the next series in September. All for a show whose 95 episodes we have already watched.

And for that, and for her theft of the idea I never had and wouldn’t have the wit to formulate, I must now shake my fist at Ms. Hoepfner and snarl, “Why I oughta …” There is nothing else for it.

And this is not just three days of continual viewing, either. That would not be an ambitious project based on madness, but a cry for help. This is one episode per evening between now and the end of August, not including vacations, nights away from the set and those moments where sporting events interfere, like the 14 nights of that Hawks-Suns and Islanders-Canadiens championship series I predicted right around the time I meant to have that Taskmaster idea that Hoepfner clearly stole from my decaying brain. Frankly, I don’t see how this doesn’t overlap with the start of Season 12 unless we double up from time to time, and I’m assuming those are 90-minute exhibitions of proximity my wife will not relish at all. One is more than sufficient for her, I suspect, and a three-day marathon is thus out of the question.

Season 12 figures to be of the same fine quality as Seasons 1 through 11, the two Champion of Champions episodes and the New Year’s Treat—though I cannot make my mind imagine Victoria Coren Mitchell reprising Mike Wozniak’s timeless fart task of Season 11, which was one of entertainment’s four finest moments, the other three being my three rewatchings of Mike Wozniak’s timeless fart task. Alan Davies, maybe, but not Mitchell. Poker champion/game show presenters do not fart on command, particularly when those two fields put a premium on not farting, on command or otherwise, for literally hours.

Nevertheless, the gauntlet has been dropped, even if Hoepfner did not have my peculiarly obsessive nature in mind when she created her opus. We will be watching two-and-half months of Taskmaster in less than two and a half months, damn it, and fit in all our other mandatory and optional viewings and interactions with other humans now that such things are less dangerous and now merely problematic, as all human interactions typically are.

We shall reach Sarah Kendall’s championship moment before we embark on Desiree Burch’s, or Morgana Robinson’s, or Guz Khan’s quests for same, and we mention them all because unlike most NBA fans’ view of the NBA that all the games are fixed by an evil referees’ consortium of Scott Foster, Zach Zarba and Ed Malloy, we do not know who will win Taskmaster because the game is created and executed pure and free of the evils of human manipulations. Challenge accepted, Ms. Hoepfner, whether you know it or not, and despite the fact that you surely do not care.

Annoying Author’s Note (or if you prefer, Note From Annoying Author): We will not refer to this quest again, let alone write it. Hoepfner has cleaned out the Taskmaster blog genre here at YFB, and there is nothing left for us to do but seethe with silent envy at her craft and creativity, and set steely about the task (no pun intended) at hand.

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