6.4/10
2,099
14 user 3 critic

Gimme a Break! 

Carl Kanisky is chief of police in Glenlawn, California. After the death of his wife, Margaret, he asks her friend, Nell Harper, to come in to keep house and take care of his children, ... See full summary »

Creators:

Mort Lachman, Sy Rosen
Reviews
Popularity
2,131 ( 189)

On Disc

at Amazon

Episodes

Seasons


Years



6   5   4   3   2   1  
1987   1986   1985   1984   1983   1982   … See all »
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 12 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

227 (1985–1990)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

This series took place in an apartment building numbered 227. The cast would frequently e sitting outside on a large set of stone stairs, involved in some discussion that would unfold into the weekly plotline.

Stars: Helen Martin, Marla Gibbs, Hal Williams
What's Happening!! (1976–1979)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A trio of black youths learn about life, love, friendship, credit cards, gambling, and a variety of other things while growing up in an inner city.

Stars: Ernest Thomas, Haywood Nelson, Danielle Spencer
What's Happening Now! (1985–1988)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

"What's Happening Now!" is a sequel to "What's Happening!," a TV series about the adult main characters (Raj, Dwayne, Rerun, Shirley, and Dee) as teenagers/children.

Stars: Ernest Thomas, Haywood Nelson, Anne-Marie Johnson
Amen (1986–1991)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Deacon Frye, head of the First Community Church of Philadelphia, is trying to keep everything in his church firmly under control. His new assistant, Rev. Reuben Gregory, however, has some ... See full summary »

Stars: Sherman Hemsley, Clifton Davis, Anna Maria Horsford
Good Times (1974–1979)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A poor African-American family make the best of things in the Chicago housing projects.

Stars: Ja'net DuBois, Ralph Carter, BernNadette Stanis
Alice (1976–1985)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The misadventures and trials of an aspiring singer and her co-workers at a greasy spoon diner.

Stars: Linda Lavin, Beth Howland, Vic Tayback
The Jeffersons (1975–1985)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A nouveau riche, African-American family who move into a luxury apartment building develop close, if occasionally fractious, relationships with other tenants.

Stars: Isabel Sanford, Sherman Hemsley, Marla Gibbs
Welcome Back, Kotter (1975–1979)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A compassionate teacher returns to his inner city high school of his youth to teach a new generation of trouble making kids.

Stars: Gabe Kaplan, Ron Palillo, John Travolta
One Day at a Time (1975–1984)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The misadventures of a divorced mother, her family, and their building superintendent in Indianapolis.

Stars: Valerie Bertinelli, Bonnie Franklin, Pat Harrington Jr.
Sanford and Son (1972–1977)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The misadventures of a cantankerous junk dealer and his frustrated son.

Stars: Redd Foxx, Demond Wilson, LaWanda Page
Too Close for Comfort (1980–1987)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Jackie and Sarah Rush are two grown sisters who live in half of a duplex. Their parents, Henry and Muriel, live in the other half. Though one might think this proximity may be fun, both ... See full summary »

Stars: Ted Knight, Nancy Dussault, Jim J. Bullock
Maude (1972–1978)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

This "All In The Family" spin-off centers around Edith's cousin, Maude Findlay. She's a liberal, independent woman living in Tuckahoe, NY with her fourth husband Walter, owner of Findlay's ... See full summary »

Stars: Bea Arthur, Bill Macy, Conrad Bain
Edit

Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Nell Carter ...  Nell Harper 137 episodes, 1981-1987
Lara Jill Miller ...  Sam Kanisky 119 episodes, 1981-1987
Lauri Hendler ...  Julie Kanisky / ... 114 episodes, 1981-1986
Kari Michaelsen Kari Michaelsen ...  Katie Kanisky 111 episodes, 1981-1986
Dolph Sweet ...  Chief Carl Kanisky / ... 88 episodes, 1981-1985
John Hoyt ...  Grandpa Stanley Kanisky / ... 82 episodes, 1982-1987
Joey Lawrence ...  Joey Donovan 77 episodes, 1983-1987
Telma Hopkins ...  Addy Wilson 68 episodes, 1983-1987
Howard Morton Howard Morton ...  Officer Ralph Simpson 49 episodes, 1981-1986
Edit

Storyline

Carl Kanisky is chief of police in Glenlawn, California. After the death of his wife, Margaret, he asks her friend, Nell Harper, to come in to keep house and take care of his children, Katie, Julie, and Samantha, in short, be like a mother to them. Later, Carl's father, Stanley, moves in. Around the same time, Nell takes in young Joey Donovan as her foster son. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

TV-G

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Allo Nelly Bobo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(137 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The show's producers were very concerned about Nell Carter's escalating drug use, binge eating, rapidly fluctuating weight, and self-destructive lifestyle. She went into rehab several times during production. At one point, Liza Minelli flew her to a special rehab center. See more »

Goofs

The front door of the set has a brass mail slot, but exterior shots are of a door with no slot. See more »

Quotes

Julie: Daddy, you're so old-fashioned. Didn't you ever suck face?
See more »


Soundtracks

Ave Maria
Performed by Nell Carter
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Holds up surprisingly well 30+ years later
26 November 2014 | by severe_tdSee all my reviews

I was 9 years old in 1981 when this show debuted. Though I watched Gimme a Break from the start, it goes without saying that I lacked the maturity at that age to fully understand the adult humor and social issues being explored.

As Gimme a Break only enjoyed average ratings at the time, it was not a big candidate for syndication. As a result, it has been decades since I last saw the show.

I caught it again recently on YouTube, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was better than I remembered as a kid, perhaps because I could fully understand everything now. It's funny, charming, well-written, and even manages to tackle some serious issues. Most notably, it holds up surprisingly well today, which can't be said for many of the more popular sitcoms at the time.

The show was also fairly unusual in that its strongest episodes were in the first two years. Most successful shows take some time to find themselves, but Gimme a Break hit its stride early. Sadly, the show started to slip starting from season 3. Nell Harper's increased creative control was part of the problem. She was a very talented actress and singer, but not so much on the creative side. The series really took a nosedive in its final season when the girls left and the setting moved to New York.

Even so, this was a good show, and in fact deserved better ratings when it was on the air. Try watching it again, and I bet you'll enjoy it more the second time around.


3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 14 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed