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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
2,334 ( 57)

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at Amazon

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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 »

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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 ...  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 »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gimme a Break! 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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nell Carter would star in a late 90s revival of Annie as the diabolical Miss Hannigan. It would be her second starring Broadway role after Ain't Misbehavin (for which she won the Tony). 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

Katie: Dad, it's hard for Nell to stick to her diet when you're stuffing your face like that.
Chief: I'm not stuffing.
Nell: Right. He's eating for two in case he gets pregnant.
Chief: See what happens? You take away their trough and they get vicious?
Nell: It's no problem. I'm eating clean, lean, and healthy. After all, you are what you eat. Another helping of jackass, Chief?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Reruns of the series in the US are cut by two minutes, One particular instance in a 1982 episode has a joke cut out, while retaining the laughter of the studio audience. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Goldbergs: I Caddyshacked the Pool (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Merry Christmas Stranger
Performed by Nell Carter and Telma Hopkins
See more »

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User Reviews

reasonably funny
16 June 2006 | by mattkratzSee all my reviews

This was a reasonably funny comedy starring Nell Carter. A very young Joey Lawrence also appeared in it as a young street-hustler-turned-foster-kid-for-the-family. It was basic fare for a sitcom, featuring the cute kids, family values, and little lessons learned at the end of each episode. In the show, the chief of police's wife has just died, and he asks Nell (Nell Carter) to come in and work for him, helping him raise his three daughters in the process. Nell becomes sort of a mother figure for the girls, and everyone tries to learn from each other. There were some memorable episodes (such as when Samantha puts Joey in black face to get back at Nell, or when Nell undergoes hypnotherapy to remember where she had put something only to become helpless whenever someone knocked three times, or when the chief was on a stakeout with another officer and told him a horrible gay joke, only to learn that the other officer was gay), but the show was fairly standard. Nonetheless, I thought it was funny, and it managed to stand out due to its good cast and themes in its episodes and type of humor. It was sad when the actor who played the chief died. Jonathan Silverman was a good addition after that. I also love the grandfather character. He was funny, and changed as the show went on, from the senile old goat to a wise old man.

Unfortunately, the show went downhill after Nell and Addy moved to New York, and they changed the premise of the show. I didn't think it was as good after that, and I hardly watched it anymore.

Overall, anyone into '80s TV show might like this one. I used to enjoy watching it when I was younger. **1/2 out of ****


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