Gimme a Break!

NBC (ended 1987)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 6 : Ep 25

    Mama's Date

    Aired 5/12/87

  • S 6 : Ep 24

    Someday, My Prince . . .

    Aired 5/5/87

  • S 6 : Ep 23

    Save the Church

    Aired 4/28/87

  • S 6 : Ep 22

    Parents' Week (2)

    Aired 4/7/87

  • S 6 : Ep 21

    Parents' Week (1)

    Aired 3/31/87

  • Cast & Crew
  • John Hoyt

    Grandpa Stanley Kanisky (1982-1987)

  • Joey Lawrence

    Joey Donovan (1983-1987)

  • Telma Hopkins

    Addy Wilson (1984-1987)

  • Nell Carter

    Nellie Ruth "Nell" Harper

  • Dolph Sweet

    Chief Carl Kanisky (1981-1985)

  • Photos (1)
  • show Description
  • A rotund black housekeeper maintained order in the home of a portly white police chief in this old-fashioned comedy set in the fictional town of Glen Lawn, California. Policeman Carl's beloved wife Margaret had died only months before, leaving him with three, winsome daughters, ranging in age from cute grade-schooler to troublesome teen. Wisecracks and fat jokes abounded, but there was a lot of love as Nell tried to befriend and surrogate mother to the clan. Officer Simpson was a dopey police officer who was frequently seen, and Joey was a six-year-old orphan and junior-grade hustler who joined the household in the 1983-1984 season. As the 1985-1986 season opened the chief had passed away (actor Dolph Sweet had died), and Nell became both mother and father to the Kanisky brood. The man of the house was now Jonathan, who had married Julie at the end of the 1984-1985 season and moved in. The ratings started to slip from its usual place that season, and the network was so worried about that, and what they felt was a decline in the quality of the writing, that Hal Cooper, the executive producer, was told by NBC executives to either end production of the series or make major changes. By 1986, with the Kanisky girls grown and/or college-bound, Nell and her best friend Addy decided to leave Glen Lawn for New York City, with Grandpa and little Joey in tow. There they discovered Joey's irresponsible father Tim, who turned over Joey's younger brother Matthew (played by Joey Lawrence's real-life brother) and departed, adding a second child to the shifting household. Marty was Nell's nutty New York landlord, who also owned the restaurant El Gaspacho downstairs, where he put on a phony Spanish accent and called himself "Esteban". The changes didn't help the ratings any, nor did two different time slots that season, and the show quietly ended its network run in the spring of 1987. NBC Broadcast History October 29, 1981- August 26, 1982----Thursdays----9:30 p.m. September 2, 1982- September 30, 1982----Thursdays----9:00 p.m. October 2, 1982- December 25, 1982----Saturdays----9:00 p.m. January 6, 1983- August 4, 1983----Thursdays----9:00 p.m. August 11, 1983- September 20, 1984----Thursdays----8:00 p.m. September 29, 1984- November 24, 1984----Saturdays----8:30 p.m. December 1, 1984- August 31, 1985----Saturdays----9:00 p.m. September 7, 1985- June 7, 1986----Saturdays----8:00 p.m. June 11, 1986- March 23, 1987----Wednesdays----9:00 p.m. March 31, 1987- May 12, 1987----Tuesdays----9:00 p.m.moreless

  • Top Contributor
  • FredScuttle

    User Score: 1678


  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (91)

    • Nell:: I'll teach you how to box.
      Sam:: You? But you're a girl!
      Nell:: Honey, I am WOMAN!

    • Nell: (chewing on a piece of celery) I hate food that you can hear.

    • Carl: Three weeks. Three weeks of nothing but lettuce, celery and carrots. I wonder why rabbits aren't more vicious.

    • Angie: I used to have trouble drinking with straws. Then I started taking the paper off them. Nell: Angie baby, how can such a small head hold so much air? Angie: I sleep with the windows open.

    • Father: (To Carl) How about a little "Blue Nun"? We could put Sister Theresa in the refrigerator!

    • Julie: (sarcastically) Hi, I'm a Silver Slipper. I'm cute and I'm popular, and on a warm day, my IQ goes up to 70!

    • (about a kid who has been playing "Froggie Hop" for 18 straight hours) Julie: His mother's going to have a vegetable for dinner.

    • Nell: It's my Aunt Vera. She has to have an operation. Chief: Oh? Nell: Yeah. She's a widow with three kids, and she has a very, very rare disease. Chief: What is it? Nell: Flombitis. She has a flom stuck in her bitis. Chief: There's nothing worse than a flom in your bitis.

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    Notes (202)

    • Many scenes from this episode appear in the opening credits:

      1) Nell sucking the fish up the vacuum cleaner

      2) Nell reacting to the gun the chief is holding

      3) Nell teaching Samantha how to battle

      4) Nell looking into the vacuum nozzle

    • This episode was videotaped on October 02, 1981.

    • On the E! True Story, they said that Gimme A Break was about a widowed father who moved his three daughters to California from New York after the death of his wife. However, this is not mentioned in the pilot, and in a future episode "Flashback", it showed Margaret before she died and the girls very young and they were in the Glenlawn house. Therefore, E! must have made a mistake there.

    • The scene where Nell comes out in a red dress in the opening credits came from this episode.

    • This episode was videotaped on October 09, 1981.

    • Scenes from this episode appear in the opening credits:

      1) The Chief talking

      2) The Chief looking down his pants

      3) The Chief getting his shoes out of the oven

      4) Nell and the girls are bouncing around on the sofa looking at a fight while Samantha sulks

      5) Nell eating a bowl of ice cream and scowling

    • Thie episode was videotaped on October 16, 1981.

    • Even though Rue McClanahan is just a guest star, she's credited on the opening with the rest of the cast.

    Show More Notes

    Trivia (44)

    • Continuity: The front door of the set has a brass mail slot, but exterior shots are of a door with no slot. Even worse, while we see the slot on the outside of the set door when opened, there is no hole on the inside for mail to drop.

    • In first of what becomes a running gag, Gertrude the goldfish meets her demise, this time, she is sucked up in the vaccuum cleaner.

    • Nell tells the Chief that her father died a miserable old man, yet, later in the season, in the episode "Nell Goes Home", she goes to see her dying father in Alabama.

    • When Nell walks into the kitchen where Julie and George are studying, you can see a boom mic shadow on the wall next to the kitchen door.

    • Harrison Page is incorrectly credited as Ray on this episode and Ralph Wilcox is incorrectly credited as Bob. (the names are submitted correctly in this guide however)

    • This is the second episode where poor Gertrude the goldfish meets her demise, thanks to Nell. This time it's bathroom cleaner in the fish tank.

    • Samantha makes a reference to Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, characters from the original Star Wars trilogy.

    • The game the two boys are playing at the arcade is a Tempest machine, but the sounds are from an Asteroids machine. The Astro Destroyer machine Julie and Arnie are sitting down at is actually a Scramble machine. Also, the Froggie Hop machine is actually an Asteroids machine. The table machine that Julie and the Chief are playing at the end of the episode is Vanguard, but the sounds are again, mostly from Asteroids.

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    Allusions (14)

    • Nell: I'm gonna reach out and touch you in your chops. This is a parody of the old AT&T advertising slogan "reach out and touch someone".

    • Have a puppy, baby, and you'll end up on That's Incredible. That's Incredible was a TV show that featured people doing unusual or incredible feats.

    • "Love thy neighbour" This is one of the two great commandments taught by Jesus in the New Testament.

    • The title of this episode is a play on the title of another NBC show "Love, Sidney", which, interestingly enough, one of the regular directors (Hal Cooper), and executive producer (Rod Parker), would be executive producers on Gimme a Break! starting with the 3rd season.

    • When Simpson jumps up and sings "Oh, what a feeling, Toyota", that was a reference to an old slogan Toyota used in their advertisements.

    • The title of this episode is a reference to the early 80's cop drama Hill Street Blues (Interestingly, both Gimme A Break! and Hill Street Blues aired their final episodes on the same night on NBC)

    • Simpson: Sure, and I'm Captain Furillo. Captain Furillo was a character on a popular police drama that aired on NBC, "Hill Street Blues"

    • Nell: Cagney and Lacey are women, and they round up criminals all the time. "Cagney and Lacey" was a popular crime drama that ran on CBS. The two main characters (Chris Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey) were women detectives for the NYPD.

    Show More Allusions
  • Fan Reviews (13)
  • It's good

    By rogerstillstone, Apr 10, 2015

  • My First Post

    By Smartboy45, Jun 16, 2014

  • Gimme a freaking Break!

    By SoylentYellow, Jan 30, 2007

  • This show was about a black housekeeper who promised the chief's wife she would take care of the chief and his daughters. She also ended up taking care of Joey and Matthew later in the series. All in all an excellent show that show be put back on the air.

    By lilrock87, Aug 15, 2006

  • This show is AWESOME....Nell Carter is hysterical and has a voice blessed by God. I wish they would release a CD of all the songs she sang throughout the run of this show.

    By honestguy5872, Jul 31, 2006

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