I'm probably one of the VERY few who enjoyed GL even back then. But I was also still in grade school.
For me, GL stopped being the GL I admired and respected around the time Megan McTavish began her stint as HW. It rebounded somewhat during the early part of the Paul Rauch/Esensten & Brown regime, even though signs of trouble were already apparent, with dumbed-down stories such as Matt and Vanessa's reunion, Beth's return and OOC relationship with Carl, Annie blaming Reva for her miscarriage, etc. Yes, I still tuned into the show -- through B&E, through Claire Labine and her kids, through Lloyd Gold and Millee Taggart and new EP John Conboy's partner-in-crime, Ellen Weston -- but not as frequently; and by 2004, or whenever David Kreizman assumed the HWing reins and turned GL into an extended, Coopers-vs.-Spauldings edition of "Family Feud," I was ready to say goodbye.
I would love -- LOVE -- to see IYM released on DVD, but I'm not holding my breath. It's not on the same-level, adoration-wise, as other, short-lived series like "Buffalo Bill" and "Freaks and Geeks."
IYM had everything: clever stories, great jokes, perfect cast. Best of all, though, it had Jason Bateman as Matthew Burton, a teenaged con artist living in California's San Fernando Valley, with his shallow older sister, Julie (Tricia Cast, ex-Nina, Y&R); and devoted single mom, Eileen (Caren Kaye, aka the mom in "Teen Witch"). When Matthew wasn't busy hatching mind-blowing schemes -- usually with his best friend, slow-witted Eli (Adam Sadowsky), in tow -- he was engaged in a constant one-upsmanship with Eileen's new boyfriend, and the Burtons' new across-the-hall neighbor, writer Norman Lamb (David Garrison, "Married...with Children"). Matthew was as devoted to his mom as Eileen was to him and Julie; and he believed Norman, who had been a troublemaker himself when he was Matthew's age (and therefore saw through Matthew's Eddie Haskell act almost immediately), was just all wrong for her.
From wikipedia: 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.
In an era when most sitcoms, including the ones produced by the same company (Embassy/ELP) that produced IYM, were awash in over-earnest, Very Special Episode b.s., IYM must have seemed like the perfect antidote. Unfortunately, NBC aired the show opposite ABC's then-ratings juggernaut, "Dynasty," which guaranteed the show's short lifespan. Moreover, and more to the show's overall detriment, they were nervous about Matthew's status as an irresponsible role model for younger viewers, so they asked the show's creator/producers, Ron Leavitt and Michael G. Moye (also "Married...with Children") to tone down the young grifter's antics...which they did...in one infamous episode where Eileen FINALLY stumbles upon Matthew in mid-scheme at her boss' office and learns just what kind of son she had been raising all along. IYM limped along for a few more episodes, but with conniving Matthew more-or-less out of commission, its fate was sealed.
Making Kay and Jill mother and daughter has to be one of the most bone-headed decisions in the history of soaps. It reduced one of this genre's greatest rivalries to nothing -- and frankly, undoing it did nothing to change that.
You know, even if I could ignore history and accept Olivia as a latent lesbian, I still couldn't buy her being in a relationship with Natalia. I'd sooner buy her hooking up in the end with India von Halkein.