It's Your Move
|It's Your Move|
|Created by||Ron Leavitt
Michael G. Moye
|Written by||Al Aidekman
Fred Fox, Jr.
Michael G. Moye
|Directed by||Peter Bonerz
|Theme music composer||Rik Howard
|Opening theme||"It's Your Move" performed by Mark Riddles|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||18|
|Executive producer(s)||Ron Leavitt
Michael G. Moye
John Maxwell Anderson
Fred Fox, Jr.
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Embassy Television|
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original run||September 26, 1984– February 23, 1985|
The show centered on Matthew Burton (Bateman), a teenage scam artist who lived in a Van Nuys, California apartment with his older sister Julie (Cast) and widowed mother Eileen (Kaye). Matt ran various underhanded dealings with his high school friends, especially his sidekick Eli (Adam Sadowsky), such as term paper sales, exam answer keys, and blackmail.
The status quo of Matthew's world changed forever in the series' pilot, when Norman Lamb (Garrison) moved into the apartment across the hall. A quick-witted but impoverished writer from Chicago, Norman struck up a friendship with Eileen and the two were soon dating. Dismayed that his mother had chosen someone so far beneath her, Matt set upon sabotaging their relationship, but soon finds he has met his match—Norman reveals himself to be cut from the same cloth as Matthew, and foils plot after plot.
Matt and Norman's cat and mouse game continued and escalated for thirteen episodes, fighting relentlessly while always shielding the aggressively gullible Eileen from one another's true nature.
"The Dregs of Humanity" episode
A notable episode was a two-parter entitled "The Dregs of Humanity". In the first half of the episode, Eli loses the school's money that had been trusted to Matt for hiring a band for a school dance. To cover the loss, Matthew crafts the rise and fall of a band—The Dregs of Humanity—and acts as their manager. The fictitious band, which actually consisted of four skeletons stolen from the biology lab (and controlled by strings with a smoke machine to cover them up), is a little too successful and Matthew soon finds himself agreeing to allow Norman an interview with the band for Music Press magazine, figuring that if the truth ever comes out, Norman will be humiliated. The interview only fuels the Dregs' popularity, and this sets up the cliffhanger: the Palladium calls and offers a $20,000 gig for the Dregs. While heretofore willing to let the Dregs retire, the money is too enticing and Matt agrees to the gig.
In the second part of the episode, Matthew is scrambling to explain why The Dregs failed to show up to a sold-out concert. To make matters worse, Norman is starting to suspect that the band doesn't exist and Matthew gets sued. He finally has the brilliant idea to send the "band" to a watery grave by concocting a story that the "band" drove off a cliff into the ocean. In a later episode, it is revealed that the fake band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Series changes and cancellation
In episode 14, the series was retooled via the plot device of Eileen finally catching Matthew red-handed during an ambitious (and, somewhat unusually for the show, purely illegal) scheme to prove Eileen's value to her boss. In the remaining five episodes of the series, Matthew's scams were almost completely excised from the show, and It's Your Move became a much more conventional sitcom. These changes did little to improve the ratings, and the series was cancelled in early 1985.
The show's creators and executive producers were Michael G. Moye and Ron Leavitt, who some years later would take the harder tone of the It's Your Move concept and put it in an entirely different context: Fox's Married...With Children, in which Garrison starred for four seasons (and was also produced by Embassy Communications).
|Episode #||Episode title||Original airdate|
|1||Pilot||September 26, 1984|
|2||"Put to the Test"||October 3, 1984|
|3||"Dating Games"||October 17, 1984|
|4||"Night Work"||October 24, 1984|
|5||"Pajama Party"||October 31, 1984|
|6||"Love Letters"||November 14, 1984|
|7||"Dad and Me"||November 21, 1984|
|8||"The Rival"||November 28, 1984|
|9||"Top Dog"||December 5, 1984|
|10||"Don't Leave Home Without It"||December 12, 1984|
|11||"The Christmas Show"||December 19, 1984|
|12||"The Dregs of Humanity: Part 1"||January 2, 1985|
|13||"The Dregs of Humanity: Part 2"||January 9, 1985|
|14||"Caught in the Act"||January 26, 1985|
|15||"Eli's Song"||February 2, 1985|
|16||"A Woman Is Just a Woman"||February 9, 1985|
|17||"The Experts"||February 16, 1985|
|18||"Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"||February 23, 1985|
|1985||Young Artist Awards||Nominated||Best Young Actor in a Television Comedy Series||Jason Bateman|
|Best New Comedy or Drama Television Series||
|1986||Nominated||Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Series||Tricia Cast|
- Weinman, Jaime (3 July 2009). Weekend Viewing: It's Your Move, Maclean's, Retrieved December 15, 2010
- Childs, Mike T. (2004). The Rocklopedia Fakebandica. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 59. ISBN 0-312-32944-X.
- Holston, Noel (26 September 1984). TV's junior con man proves oddly endearing, Ottawa Citizen, Retrieved December 15, 2010
- Duffy, Mike (Knight-Ridder) (28 September 1984). 'It's Your Move' Shows Promise, The Beaver County Times, Retrieved December 15, 2010
- Jicha, Tom (26 September 1984). NBC makes the wrong move with new sitcom, The Miami News, Retrieved December 15, 2010 (noting that debut episode of the series had to go up against Dynasty and a miniseries installment)