It's Your Move/Pilot

From The TV IV
Jump to: navigation, search
Season 1, Episode 1
Airdate September 26, 1984
Written by Ron Leavitt and Michael G. Moye
Directed by Peter Bonerz

1x02 →
Put to the Test
It's Your MoveSeason One

Pilot is the first episode of the first season of It's Your Move, and the first episode overall.

Guest Stars: Adam Sadowsky (Eli), Ernie Sabella (Lou Donatelli), River Phoenix (Brian), Beto Lovato (Manuel)


Plot Overview

The Pilot episode introduces us to the Burton family, living in an apartment in Van Nuys, California, and consisting of Matthew, his older sister Julie, and their widowed Mother Eileen. Matt is the center of the show and is a teenage con artist who makes money by various schemes and scams at school. Matt is assisted by his chubby, dimwitted friend Eli, and a group of fellow students in running a test-selling scam. While Matt has questionable scruples in his teenage circles, he is wildly protective of his Mom and often slips money into her purse when she is not looking.

Matt and his friends store their term papers and other records of their wrong-doings in the apartment across the hall. When a new neighbor named Norman Lamb, a struggling writer from Chicago, moves in across the hall, Matt immediately concocts a scheme to run him out. Unfortunately, the scheme backfires when Norman encounters Eileen and they begin to casually date.

Matt then encourages Eileen's ex-boyfriend Mort to propose to Eileen while Matt nails Norman's door shut. However, Norman had hired Mort to do some work in his apartment, so it is Mort that gets trapped inside, while Norman again shows up and asks out Eileen.

Norman then receives a letter from Newsweek magazine offering him a job in New York. Norman then impresses Eileen by turning down the offer because he had fallen for Eileen. Privately he confides to Matt that he knew that Matt and Eli had actually written the offer since Eli had misspelled the word special as specal...the same has he had earlier in the show on a sign advertising the term paper sale.

Eventually, Matt agrees to let Norman continue dating his Mom, especially in light of the fact that Norman bought Eileen an expensive gift. When Matt inquires how Norman could afford the gift, Norman announces that he had actually sold an article on the same day that he recived Matt and Eli's phony job offer. For the first time, Matt then gets the upper hand when he confesses that he had in fact written the acceptance letter from Atlantic Monthly. He repeats the line that would become the shows catchphrase, "you're gonna laugh!"

Arc Advancement


  • Norman moves into the same apartment as the Burton family.
  • Eileen and Norman begin casually dating.


  • Matt agrees to 'accept' the fact that Norman and Eileen are dating.
  • Eli reveals that he has a huge crush on Julie, who cannot stand him.


The Lead-in

  • The Pilot and second episode of the series featured a different lead-in than the more familiar checkerboard intro. Extra scenes that would never be viewed in the series were filmed to introduce the characters. Eli is shown holding a boom box to Matt's ear as they walk down the hall in the school. Eileen is exercising and bends over to grab a handful of snacks from Julie's bowl next to her on the couch. Matthew is shown helping a puzzled Julie get ready to leave; when she turns around it is revealed that she has a paper taped to her back saying "I stuff my bra." Norman and Eileen are shown trying to arrange one lone book on Norman's bookshelf. Julie is shown talking on the phone, while a split screen reveals Matt listening in with a tape recorder. And finally a genreric shot inside Norman's apartment of Matt and Norman shaking hands.

Behind the Scenes

  • Two scenes in the episode show Eli's braces appearing and disappearing during the scene. Adam Sadwosky, the actor portraying Eli, confirmed that re-takes had to be shot months after the original pilot was filmed, during which time he had gotten braces.
  • The opening scene features a group of Matt's fellow students, among them a young River Phoenix.
  • Eileen states in the episode that her 'unseen' beau Mort Stumplerutt could be reached by phone by dialing ZOO-LIFE. In reality, there is no Z on the telephone.

Allusions and References

  • Norman and Eileen reference The Ed Sullivan Show and other icons of the fifties: Sam Cooke, The Drifters, and the 'Japanese guys' who spin plates on sticks. Julie explains to Matt that "everybody knows who Ed Sullivan is...he's the guy in the Billy Joel video"

Memorable Moments

  • Julie blasts Matt for stealing his diary. Matt admits that he read the diary but didn't take it because her right to privacy was dear to him, even though he pokes fun at her for writing that she had practiced french kissing on her stuffed animal. As she walks away, Matt's friends chant "Julie and Snoopy sitting in a tree..."


  • Matt: Allow me to extend to you a Golden State welcome to this paradise of the West Coast and bid you a fond 'howdy neighbor'!
    Norman: Are all California kids like you?
  • Eli: Hi Julie, Gee I wish you'd cheer for me sometime.
    Julie: OK. Yay Eli, you're a tree sloth!
  • Eli: Gee, I wish I had a sister to torture.
    Matt: Ah, use your imagination. You've got a Grandmother.
  • Matt: C,mon Norm, you're an old man. When a guy reaches your age and you haven't sold anything yet, you're not a writer. You're a failure. No offense, you understand.


  • Overall Grade: no reviews yet
  • Review Breakdown: A+: 0 A: 0 A-: 0 B+: 0 B: 0 B-: 0 C+: 0 C: 0 C-: 0 D: 0 F: 0