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Gimme a Break

By Wikipedia

Gimme a Break! was a sitcom which aired on NBC from October 29, 1981 until May 12, 1987. It starred stage actress Nell Carter as the housekeeper for a police chief and his three daughters, who were left without a mother after she died.

The sitcom took place in a fictional town of Glen Lawn, California. Nellie Ruth "Nell" Harper (Nell Carter) agrees to be a housekeeper for the Kanisky household as a special favor to her late friend, who was the wife of police chief Carl Kanisky (Dolph Sweet). His three daughters were (oldest to youngest) Katie (Kari Michaelson), Julie (Lauri Hendler), and Samantha ("Sam"; Lara Jill Miller). Officer Ralph Simpson (Howard Morton) was a dopey police officer who worked with Carl. During the second season, Carl's parents, Grandpa Stanley (John Hoyt) and Grandma Mildred (Jane Dulo), were occasionally seen, as was his brother, Ed (Pete Schrum), an overweight mortician who loved to play practical jokes. Grandma, however, passed away after that season, and Grandpa moved in with Carl and his family. Ed got married and was written out of the series.

The third season saw occasional appearances of Addy Wilson (Telma Hopkins), Nell's childhood friend who worked as a teacher. Joey Donovan (Joey Lawrence) was a six-year-old orphan who joined the Kanisky household that year. Addy became a regular cast member one year later. That same year, Julie married Jonathan Maxwell (Jonathan Silverman), a pizza-delivery man, who moved into the household.

The fifth season saw the passing of the chief (actor Dolph Sweet had died), and Jonathan became the head of the household. In order to keep the falling ratings from dropping, the producers of Gimme a Break! made several changes after the fifth year. Katie moved to San Francisco; Julie, Jonathan, and their baby, Nell, moved to San Josť; and Samantha attended college in New Jersey. Addy got a job in New York City, so Nell and Grandpa and Joey came to New York to join her. There, they discovered Joey's irresponsible father, Tim, who showed him his brother, Matthew (played by Matthew Lawrence, Joey's real-life brother), and left them with Nell and Grandpa. Marty (Paul Sand) was their landlord who also owned a Mexican restaurant under the name "Esteban." One of their New York neighbors was a young lady named Maggie O'Brien, played by then up-and-coming comedienne Rosie O'Donnell.

While the show was very successful, it relied heavily on a formula that wasn't deviated from very much throughout the series: there was always unintentional as well as intentional comedy stemming from Nell's success (and sometimes lack of success) with losing weight. To her credit, Carter did not suffer from typecasting as a result of the way her character was written in the series.

This series was the first major gig for Joey Lawrence, who would again have a notable television role on Blossom.

As a promotional gimmick, one episode of this series was performed and broadcast live. The episode aired on March 2, 1985.

The show was produced by Alan Landsburg Productions, whose successor-in-interest, Reeves Entertainment Group, took over production in 1985. The American syndication rights are held by Universal Pictures. The creators of the show were Mort Lachman and Sy Rosen.

 

Share Your Memories!

Do you have a favorite episode of Gimme a Break? What do you remember about the series? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"I miss the show very much it made me laugh until I cry. That was the show when I was grow up and everyday when I get out of school I will run home so I can watch Nell Carter and was so glad that she did everything that she dream of and more."

--Lady Dia

"Nell Carter was the Best! She was so perfect for that show and I don't think she got enough recognition for it. I remember just waiting for some unsuspecting person to get on that last nerve and seeing her look change as she prepared to tell them how it really is! I Loved It! When Nell had enough, it was ON! R.I.P. Nell and keep givin' 'em the what for!!"

--JASON

"That show was the best hit of the Awesome80s hands down, right along side Golden Girls. I remember this one episode that Nell's phone was cut off because they thought she didnt pay the bill, all I remember was they thought her MRS. FONG and that the phone man was not going to cut her phone back on until she paid it. I remember laughing a that until I almost died. She was so funny, and the best at what she did. PLEASE BRING IT BACK TO SYNDICATION you would be surprised at how many fans there are out there that would love to see this show agian!!!"

--VIRGINIA MAN 06

"The BEST episode ever was the one where Sam thought she was pregnant from kissing the boy! I don't think I've ever laughed that hard at a sitcom!"

--Anonymous

"I love the esipode were Joey has a gun and shots Nell in the foot. I miss the show so much. bring it back please""

--Baney

"Please put the show on dvd, I would order it in a second, Nell was the hit she kept you laughing so much that it hurt."

--Anonymous

 

TV TIDBITS

Aired: October 29, 1981 - May 12, 1987

Cast: Nell Carter, Rosie O'Donnell, Dolph Sweet, Kari Michaelson, Lara Jill Miller, Lauri Hendler, Joey Lawrence

Network: NBC

Genre: Sitcom

Theme song

Image courtesy of NBC


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