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Gimme a Break - Season One

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nell Carter, Dolph Sweet, Lauri Hendler, Telma Hopkins
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: February 14, 2006
  • Run Time: 468 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CELOW2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,423 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gimme a Break - Season One" on IMDb

Special Features

Disc 3:
  • The Great 80's TV Flashback
  • Bonus Episode: Kate & Allie "Very Loud Family"
  • Bonus Episode: Charles in Charge "Extracurricular Activity"
  • Bonus Episode: Gimme a Break! "Nell Goes to Jail"

  • Editorial Reviews

    Product Description

    Nell Carter shines as Nellie Ruth "Nell" Harper, the role that twice earned her Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominations, and helped redefine the meaning of "family." Available for the first time ever on DVD, Gimme a Break! is the funny, hip and sometimes poignant portrayal of the Kanisky family: widowed Police Chief Carl; his three daughters Katie, Julie and Samantha; and their unflappable housekeeper-turned-surrogate mother (Carter). This 3-disc set includes all 19 episodes from Season One, as well as a preview from Season Two, bonus episodes from the smash-hit sitcoms Kate & Allie and Charles in Charge, and a special featurette that takes a look back at other great TV shows of the eighties. Featuring renowned guest stars such as Danny Glover, Rue McClanahan and Helen Hunt, Gimme a Break! is the beloved sitcom that delivers both love and laughs.


    Actress-singer Nell Carter provided the heart and soul for this much-loved NBC family series (1981-1987) about a black woman who cares for a white police chief's daughters after the death of their mother. Though some of the show's humor was derived from jibes about Ms. Carter's size and the clash of parenting styles between the no-nonsense Chief (stage veteran Dolph Sweet) and Carter's warm, sassy Nell Harper, Gimme a Break also addressed more serious and emotional subjects with surprising warmth and drama. The debut episode, "Katie the Crook" (which is featured on this three-disc set, along with the other 18 episodes from the 1981-82 season), does a fine job of touching on the tougher issues, as the Chief's three daughters (Kari Michaelson, Lauri Hendler, and Lara Jill Miller) each react to the mother's untimely passing in realistic manners. Other episodes in the first season offer a good blend of humor and pathos, including "Mom's Birthday" (in which Nell allows the family to celebrate their mother through home movies), "The Emergency" (a rare TV storyline about teen birth control), "Your Prisoner Is Dead" (the Chief is traumatized after killing a drugstore burglar, and considers retirement), and "Nell Goes Home" (Nell is rejected by her ailing father during a trip to Alabama). Much of the credit for the show should go to the cast, especially Ms. Carter and Sweet (both who have since passed away), though veteran character actor John Hoyt deserves mention as the family's grandfather; their enthusiasm for and skill behind the roles is undoubtedly a large reason why Gimme a Break still enjoys a following. The first-season set includes a preview of the show's second season (the episode "Nell Goes to Jail"), as well as episodes from Charles in Charge and Kate and Allie, two other popular family sitcoms from the '80s. A 30-minute featurette on '80s TV (the same one featured on the Charles in Charge first-season set) rounds out this fan-pleasing set. -- Paul Gaita

    Customer Reviews

    I love this show when I was growing up.
    The release of this DVD is very over due.
    Will be looking out for other releases.
    M. Reynolds-Lamb

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By JGC on January 6, 2006
    Verified Purchase
    "Gimme A Break" revolves around Nell Harper (played by the late and very great Nell Carter, may she rest in peace) who moves in with Chief Charles Kanisky (played by the late Dolph Sweet) to help take care of his house and family after his wife passes away. Your entire family will enjoy this NBC sitcom because it is wholesome, realistic, entertaining, and very funny!

    The Season One DVD Set includes 19 episodes from the 1981 - 1982 season.

    Here's ALL the episodes that will be included with the Season One DVD Set (with the original air dates):

    Katie the Crook (10/29/1981)
    In the pilot, youngest daughter Sam comes home with a black eye, and Nell gives her a few lessons on how to fight. Julie and a friend are studying where babies come from, and as the Chief comes home, he walks into the kitchen to find the two kissing. Simpson arrives at the house with Katie, who was picked up for stealing, but was not arrested. Katie has been acting out since the death of her mom.

    A Good Man is Hard to Find (11/5/1981)
    Nell and Angie go to a bar to pick up men. However, Nell gets sad that she isn't sought after. She then goes home and the Chief decides to fix her up with one of his officers. What he doesn't know is that the officer is just doing the Chief a favor so he can get a better promotion. The Chief throws the man out and tells Nell what happened when she comes out all dolled up. Nell realizes he wasn't interested in her because she is overweight.

    The Second Time Around (11/12/1981)
    A woman hits the Chief's police car, because her contact lens came out . When she meets the Chief to tell him how sorry she was for smashing into his car, she realizes the two went to school together.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anthony on February 18, 2006
    "Gimme A Break" was a classic 80's sitcom that occurred at the cusp of an important time in America: post-glam 70's and pre-big hair, ME ME ME 80's. Sure, it began in 1981, when America was experiencing the throes of massive unemployment, a former Hollywood actor as our newly inaugurated president--an America that was finding it's way in a new decade. "Gimme A Break" solidified this snapshot in all the episodes of the Season 1 DVD (Nell's dimwitted friend Angie solving a Rubik's Cube with ease, Katie's IUD emergency, Katie's ooh la la Sassoon jeans, the video arcade where Julie runs away to, etc. etc.) I remember watching GAB like it was "appointment TV" every Thursday night at 8 p.m. before that time was relinquished to "Cosby." By today's standards, GAB is considered an anomaly: sometimes poignant (when Nell teaches Sam about the birds and the bees, the girls reminisce about their mom that died much too young, Nell's return home to Alabama to visit her deathly ill father that all but disowned her), to the downright hilarious: Phone company representative: "I only want what's coming to me!" Nell" "Well bend over and smile!"

    This comedy was truly a gem of the 80's that, although it doesn't belong up there with "Good Times" during the James Sr. era or "All In the Family" during the Mike and Gloria years, it makes for good nostalgia for us Gen-X-ers that grew up in the 80's and 90's. On a side note, yes, I had the major hots for Katie, and yes, the series should've ended when the chief died and that moppet bowl haircut Joey was introduced in later seasons, but hey, that's only my opinion. The DVD includes a featurette on TV programs of the 80's (all which, coincidentally are also out on DVD--can you say cha-ching??
    Read more ›
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    7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Da Man on January 5, 2006
    it's been well over a decade since I have seen Gimme A Break, outside of a brief USA stint around ten years ago, the show has been all but vanished from reruns for far too long.

    As a child in the 1980's, many of my growing up years were spent watching Nell and the Kanisky family. She was a true diva in the sense, she was a funny actress, she could sing, she could act... I was very upset when Nell passed away nearly three years ago.

    While there is much sadness knowing that Nell, Dolph Sweet and Howard Morton are now no longer with us (Sweet passed away in between the fourth and fifth seasons), it is great to have this classic sitcom preserved to watch once more.

    Please buy this set on February 14th, the better it sells, the more likely we are at getting the rest of the seasons as well.
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    7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tamra J. Gibson on December 24, 2005
    Verified Purchase
    I am absolutely thrilled to see this great 80's sitcom being released on dvd! Nell Carter was hilarious, as well as her supporting cast, which is quite rare these days. It's been so long since I've seen this show in syndication, I don't even remember alot of episodes in detail. However, I'm hoping the episode when Nell is reunited with her former girl group that dumped her(Special Guest Stars "The Pointer Sisters")is from the first season because it was truly funny!!!

    I just hope Universal does'nt take too long for future releases of this funny sitcom, because I know I'm going to watch season one pretty quickly, considering I have not seen this show since skip was a pup!!! Nell Carter I know you are keeping them laughing in heaven!!!
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    Gimme a Break - Season One
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