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October 9, 2015

Short-Lived Shows: It's Your Move

by Joel Keller, posted May 26th 2006 12:23PM
Jason Bateman and David Garrison of It's Your MoveFor some reason, I don't remember much about It's Your Move. It was on for one season, 1984-85, and I remember thinking that it should have been on much longer. I don't remember anything about the particular episodes. But here's what still sticks in my mind after not having seen it in over twenty years: Jason Bateman played one fantastic smart-ass.

People forget about that, don't they? I mean, these days, Jason is playing the "good guy" roles in shows like Arrested Development and The Jake Effect (the pilot for that is now showing on BrilliantButCancelled.com). Granted, the roles have some wise-ass edge to them -- Michael Bluth's straight-faced diggs at his family were one of my favorite running jokes in AD -- but back in the eighties, Jason was known for playing the smooth-talking teenager who stopped at nothing to get his way. And his role as Matthew Burton in IYM went a long way towards establishing that persona.

The basic premise was simple: Matthew constantly played tricks on his single mother's boyfriend, Norman Lamb (played by David Garrison of Married... With Children fame), with the purpose of trying to get Norman to break up with his mother. Norman, though, was smarter than Matthew ever gave him credit for, matching him dirty trick for dirty trick.

What made Bateman so brilliant (or, as I probably would have phrased it at 13, awesome) in the role of Matthew (and as the Matthew prototype, Derek Taylor in Silver Spoons) was his smarminess. He always had a smile pasted on his face and was disingenuously nice to his elders -- calling them "sir" or "ma'am" -- all the while thinking up schemes to not only get Norman but to mess with his sister Julie (Tricia Cast) and the bumbling building manager Lou Donatelli (Ernie Sabella). All the while, he was an angel to his beloved mother (Caren Kaye), snowing her into thinking he was a good kid, even though he was almost the devil personified.

When It's Your Move ended, Bateman moved on to play the first of his many "nice guys with an edge" roles, David Hogan in Valerie/The Hogan Family. I remember reading about that casting move (probably after I ripped the TV Guide from Rich's hands) and saying to myself, "Oooh, this is gonna be good!" But the writers of Hogan made Jason's role too nice for me, and by the time Hogan ended, that smart-ass kid persona had disappeared.

Oh, well. I guess I can just relive those glory days of It's Your Move on DVD... that's right, it's not on DVD! Guess I'll just have to rely on my sketchy memories.

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count me among the small contingent that cherishes the few memories he has of this show nearly three decades later. one day i will see all 18 episodes again. i will not lose faith! i'll even watch the painful final five episodes for the privilege of watching the first 13.

retooling a sitcom after 13 weeks in a deadly time slot... seems hasty, although these days there would be no retooling during the first season, just a quick hook.

August 01 2013 at 5:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Blank

Bateman was ahead of his time. Excellent rhetoric and delivery.

He never sold out. Yet, I am sure when asked, he admired his work on that show.

November 09 2009 at 4:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Derek Pimble

How can I purchase all episodes of It's Your Move?

February 22 2008 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jan Scheetz

I wish they would put Its your Move on a DVD. I absolutely LOVED that show and talk about it constantly not to mention using the web to see if I can get the episodes on DVD. More people than we imagine recall this great show and would like to see the episodes again. Bateman was fantastic in this show. Its your move was the perfect title for these episodes and you never knew whose 'move' would win out. Best comedy and they had to take it off and leave garbage on TV.

December 27 2007 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this show was so brilliant! i'm glad too that other people have remembered it! it was definitely a fav when i was young and i was so ssad when it disappeared...same with the show double trouble...remember that one with the twin girls/so cool....hopefully someday these will go to dvd...they were on nbc, maybe we should start a campaign! anyway,you can catch tidbits of it's your move on youtube now! check it out.....

November 12 2007 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The continuation of the Dregs of Humanity, I f I remember correctly, was that Matt gets sued by a bunch of people claming to have had an original connection to the band.
Alot of people seem to think the show ended with Dregs part 1, but it only went on hiatus.
When It came back a moth later it was still good but Jason Bateman's voice was changing and he actually sounded more like he does today but while still palying Matthew Burton.

March 30 2007 at 8:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The internet is amazing! I have thought about the "cliff hanger" with the skeletons for years. I never did get to see part two! Does anyone know where I can see the second episode of " The Dregs of Humanity." I wonder if it will have the same charm at 30 as it did at 10. :)

January 22 2007 at 11:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There were only 18 episodes - it did not run a full season. The cliffhanger was the "Dregs of Humanity" episode and the second part was pre-empted by an address from President Reagan. The second part was not shown until months later.

The final five episodes began with Matt getting caught by his mother in the act of one of his cons. The last episode was one in which Julie's chance to get on the cheerleading squad was sabotaged and Matt was charged with figuring out 'whodunnit'.

I have all 18 episodes on video and have enjoyed them immensely for more than twenty years - and I'd have to say I'm probably one of the biggest fans ever of this show. Now my teenage daughters love them as well. It was a true short-lived and underrated classic and I would love to see it on DVD.

December 14 2006 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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