Mar 20, 2013

It's Your Move

Before Married with Children demolished the myth of the euphoric nuclear family, It's Your Move (1984-85) did the same for the teencom.  Matt Burton (Jason Bateman, who would go on to star on The Hogan Family) seems to be a perfect teenage boy, but he's actually an unscrupulous, amoral operator, running a variety of scams and illegal businesses with the assistance of his best friend Eli (Adam Sadowski).  His only soft spot is for his mother, Eileen (Caren Kaye), so some of his schemes involve doing things for her, like getting her a raise at work.

Then struggling writer Norman Lamb (David Garrison, who would go on to star on Married...with Children) moves into the apartment across the hall and starts dating Matt's mom.  It turns out that there is also an unscrupulous, amoral operator lurking under his "nice guy" facade.  But not to worry, he has only honorable intentions.

Matt and Norman begin a battle of wits, cons, and blackmail, as each tries to gain power and demonstrate the other's true nature to an oblivious Eileen.

It was a welcome surcease from the TGIF sitcom jungle. Plus beefcake (David Garrison in extremely tight jeans), gay symbolism (hiding a secret life), and a decided lack of girl-craziness in Matt. Though his relationship with Eli didn't quite make the intensity of a homoromance.
The producers had high hopes for It's Your Move.  A tie-in novel was authorized, and up-and-coming star River Phoenix had a guest shot in the pilot.










Teen magazines began nonstop gushing over freckle-faced Jason Bateman..

Unfortunately, the network shoved the series into a Wednesday night timeslot opposite the blockbuster Dynasty, with the sixth season of The Facts of Life as a lead-in.  I watched, but apparently nobody else did.  Only 18 episodes aired.  You can see them on youtube.

3 comments:

  1. No, you weren't the only person watching. Unfortunately, it was gone in the blink of an eye. I'm surprised that it even lasted 18 episodes. And I may be wrong, but i seem to recall that late in the run they tried to make the whole thing less subversive by having the Mother find out the true nature of her son and boyfriend, and making Matt repentant and having Matt and Norman team up instead of being adversaries.

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  2. You didn't mention the erotic tension between Matt and Norman. I just saw an episode on youtube, and it was so intense, it was almost painful to watch. They literally can't keep their hands off each other.

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    1. Jason Bateman was 15-16 during filming, so he might be a little young for an "enemies attract" subtext. In most of the adult-teen pairings of the 1930s and 1940s, the "teen" was played by an actor in his 20s.

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