It's Your Move/The Rival

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The Rival
Season 1, Episode 8
Airdate November 28, 1984
Written by Michael G. Moye & Ron Leavitt
Directed by Jim Drake
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It's Your MoveSeason One

The Rival is the eighth episode of the first season of It's Your Move, and the eighth episode overall.

Guest Stars: Adam Sadowsky (Eli), Geoffrey Scott (Jack Wolf), Kelly Brock (Sandy)


Plot Overview

It's Friday night in the Burton apartment and the family members are returning from their dates. Eli has been hanging out on the couch eating popcorn all evening, thinking that Matt was in his room. Julie and her date Steve come home from the drive-in, followed by Matt and his date Sandy. Matt's date wonders why Matt had been taking pictures of the couple in the next car. When Norman and Eileen come home from the drive-in too, with the promise of a future date to Sea Land, Matt offers to slip Norman some money to take her to the fancy restaurant Durano's. When Norman follows through with asking Eileen, Matt refuses to give him the money, stating "I was kidding." Norman feigns a back injury to get out of the date.

Again Matt make the plea to his Mom that she could do better than Norman, but Eileen explains that she is tired of other boyfriends who were overly jealous and that she likes Norman's 'quiet strength'. Later, Eileen comes home with an attractive man named Jack, a legal client who needed some advice on his marital problems. When Norman stops by, it is obvious that he is jealous of Jack, but insists that Eileen doesn't need to explain Jack's presence. When Norman leaves and Eileen is out of earshot, Matt pays Jack (who is actually an actor named Elwood) $50 for his 'acting' performance.

Watching Jack charm Eileen, Julie decides to go over and warn Norman that he needs to do something. Norman meanders back over to Eileen's apartment and is further embarrassed when Jack demonstrates some self-defense techniques on Norman. Back at Norman's apartment, Matt skillfully cons Julie into advising Norman that going into a jealous rage is the only way to save their relationship. Norman puts off Julie, but says that if Jack came back again, this would indicate that he was worming his way into her life and he would be unable to control his jealous rage if that were the case.

Matt offers Elwood $200 to come back and portray Jack again. When he returns with flowers for Eileen, Julie goes to get Norman, while Matt sets up the situation by saying that Norman had impressed him by not throwing a jealous rage. Eileen concurs and says that she would have never been able to forgive Norman if he had done that. Seconds later Norman is pounding on the door and Matt is delighted that he is about to make a fool of himself. But when Norman comes in, he merely asks Eileen to go to Durano's with him.

Norman explains to Matt that he knew that Elwood was just an actor hired by Matt when he saw him carrying the same money clip that Matt was using when he offered to pay for dinner at Durano's. Norman had then approached Elwood to con Matt out of the $200 and split it 50/50. Matt gets in one parting shot at Norman when he calls ahead to Durano's and orders a bottle of expensive champagne for every table to be put on Norman's bill.

Arc Advancement


  • Matt suggests other boyfriends for his Mom that include Bob, Roger, and Mort. Mort presumedly refers to Mort Stumplerutt who was first mentioned in the Pilot.
  • The catchphrase from the Pilot is heard again by Norman for the first time: "You're gonna laugh."


The Show

  • Although Norman won new furniture in the previous episode Dad and Me, he still has his old furniture in this episode, indicating that this episode was filmed earlier.

Memorable Moments

  • Jack demonstrates some self-defense techniques on Norman by flinging him across the room. Before he begins, he says "Norman, pretend you're a man."


  • Eli: Hi Julie. Gee, I've been asking you out for years. What's that guy got that I don't got?
    Julie: DNA
  • Eileen: Norman, I'd like you to meet Jack. Norman Lamb. Jack Wolf.
  • Norman: I became a writer. You know, it's so challenging, so different. One day you can pretend you're an explorer, the next day a mountain climber, the next day a bounty hunter. What do you do?
    Jack: Well I'm an explorer, a mountain climber, and a bounty hunter.
  • Matt: I just wanted to tell you that you left before it got interesting. Jack was just telling us how he carried a mule up the Grand Canyon.
    Norman: Hey, I am not in competition with that guy.
    Matt: Well, I guess he can rest easy then. He was deathly afraid you were going to come over and challenge him to a type-off.
  • Matt: Man, this guy's really a loser. Look at this...he got a rejection slip from New Yorker Magazine. All he wanted was a subscription.


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