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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mama said there'd be days like this. There'd be days like this, my mama said...
"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...
Published on January 6, 2006 by JGC

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great show..defective discs.
I have a well functioning, high end DVD player/recorder. I play all sorts of different recorded and store bought DVDs and have NO problems. I ordered this set and had to get a replacement set. The replacement set had the exact same problems. There was digtal break up right at the FBI warning. The disc would turn off after the end of an episode, if you could get it to work...
Published on September 17, 2007 by KS62


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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mama said there'd be days like this. There'd be days like this, my mama said..., January 6, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Gimme a Break - Season One (DVD)
"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. The two hit it off, and begin seeing each other, and Samantha is sad because she doesn't want a step-mother. In the end, when Marion tries to seduce with the Chief, he rushes out of her apartment.

Mom's Birthday (11/19/1981)
A woman with a gift for Margaret on her birthday shows up. When the Chief comes home, he is sad because it's Margaret's birthday. He decides to take the family out to dinner. Nell decides to get out the family's home movies with the Chief objecting after first but then relenting.

Do or Diet (11/26/1981)
Nell decides to hold her PORKO'S weight-loss meeting at the house, and when she gets on the scale she gets upset that she gained two pounds. When the Chief comes home he is disgraced by the group and has a bad case of indigestion, forcing him to stay on vegetables for the next three weeks. Once Nell and the Chief begin their diet, the Chief insists on sampling her lasagna, and then they go on an eating binge.

A Man in Nell's Room (12/3/1981)
When the Chief finds a man in Nell's room, he tells her he doesn't want her fooling around with guys under his roof. Nell decides to quit, and moves in with Angie for one night. In the end, Nell gets tired of Angie and decides to come home, and is warmly greeted by the family.

Your Prisoner is Dead (12/10/1981)
The Chief witnesses a robber hold up a pharmacy. When the robber turns his gun on him, the chief shoots him in self-defense. However, when he finds out that his prisoner has died, he thinks seriously of retiring. Nell helps him get over his insecurity and go back to work.

Julie's Rejection (12/17/1981)
Julie wants to join Katie's club, and gets help from Nell and Katie on how to be cook. When she shows up to Katie's group of friends, she is nervous and screws up when they ask her questions about past experiences.

Julie's First Love (1/7/1982)
Julie goes off to the arcade after having no luck at finding a date to the Junior prom. She meets a worker there who is into computers named Arnold and she asks him to the prom which he accepts. However, the Chief is mad that Julie returns home late and grounds her, not wanting to hear her side of the story.

Nell's Ex (1/14/1982)
Nell's finds out that her ex-husband Tony is in town and wants to see her. At the house, he tells her that he is going to be on the Merv Griffith show and needs $1,000. Nell agrees to give him the money and lies to the Chief, telling him she needs $500 for her Aunt. The Chief gives her the money, even if he knows that Tony is going to blow it and not get his big break.

Katie the Cheat (1/21/1982)
The Chief is counting on Katie to do real good on her final exam, but she gets Julie to take it for her. The family is shocked to hear what has happened, when she declines the money she receives for her college education.

The Emergency (2/4/1982)
Katie comes home with a bad stomach pain and Nell rushes her to the hospital room. Once there, she meets a pushy receptionist and seeks a doctor to see Katie. The doctor tells Nell that Katie was using an IUD (Inter-Uterinary Device) as a form of birth control and will be okay. She is shocked to hear the news and so is the Chief. The Chief leaves the hospital disgusted, but returns and goes to see Katie.

Nell Goes Home (2/11/1982)
As the Chief is getting ready to leave for an assignment in New York, Samantha is mad that she can't go fishing with a male friend. After he leaves, Nell gets a call from her mother telling her that her father had a heart attack. Nell takes Samantha back home to Alabama to visit her family. At her house, Nell is told by her mother that her father doesn't want to see her. However, Samantha is sad for the way she treated the Chief because he wouldn't let her go fishing. Note: Nel's mom is played by Hilda Haynes who is not the same actress who played her mom in subsequent seasons (Rosetta LeNoire).

Samantha Steals a Squad Car (2/18/1982)
As the Chief is preparing a speech at an awards banquet, Nell sits on his cap, which ticks him off. Meanwhile, Samantha comes home, complaining that a girl called her a mean name, but Nell and the Chief are too busy arguing. To get their attention, Sam yells a bigoted term to Nell. This gets the Chief's who goes on a rampage. Sam then locks herself in the bathroom and escapes through the bathroom window, steals her fathers squad car, and takes off to the police station.

Grandma Fools Around (2/25/1982)
The family gets ready for Grandma and Grandpa's 55th anniversary at the house. Meanwhile, back at their house, Grandma and Grandpa are reminiscing over old photos and love letters that Grandpa sent her during World War 2. When Grandpa reads one of them, he finds out it wasn't his, and he threatens to leave Grandma and wants a divorce. Of course Nell helps smooth things over with one of her famous talks.

Hot Muffins (3/11/1982)
Katie's band is a big success in Glenlawn as they perform at amateur night. A big producer spots the group, and offers them a job. Katie decides at first she wants to go. However, Nell lets her see deep inside that all she wants to be is a star, and she finally decides to stay behind with her family, as her group goes off to see if they can make a success with their career.

Sam's Affair (3/18/1982)
Samantha and her friend Scottie from her baseball team decide to sit on the couch and watch some television. As they are intimidated by a love story, they talk about kissing, and they decide to try it. Finally Nell decides to teach Sam the facts of life because of some misinformation that her father told her (kissing will get her pregnant).

The Robbery (3/25/1982)
The Kaniskys come home to find burglars in their home. And when Nell returns she tricks the burglars by saying there are jewels in the closet. When the reporter shows up, Nell and the girls try to make the chief look good, even though he was tied up by the robbers.

An Unmarried Couple (4/1/1982)
Katie's friend Valerie shows up at the house, unwed, pregnant, and due any day. She tells Katie that her boyfriend Jonathan had a fight with her and the two broke up and she has nowhere to go. Valerie is welcome to stay with the family, however, once the Chief finds out she is pregnant and split with her boyfriend, he does not tolerate this.

I am so excited that "Gimme A Break" will finally find a home on DVD. This is a classic 80's sitcom. So, sit back and relax and give yourself a break to watch this excellent Nell Carter sitcom!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally!, December 6, 2005
This review is from: Gimme a Break - Season One (DVD)
I am so glad that Universal is finally releasing "Gimme a Break"! I don't understand y it says just "season one" instead of "Complete First Season" like "Charles is Charge" says,which is another Universal release?! Some extras announced for "GaB" are: Bonus episode of "GaB" from season 2, episode of "Charles in Charge", & an epiosode of "Kate & Allie". Also an 80's retrospective: "the great 80's TV Flashback". I would have preferred some bloopers or new interviews with the surviving cast members. But I will be so glad to get it on DVD since no channel is currently running this funny show!! 5 Stars for the show, 4 for the DVD set & it's bonus features!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my most wanted shows is coming to DVD!!, January 5, 2006
This review is from: Gimme a Break - Season One (DVD)
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GIMME A BREAK I SURE DESERVE IT!!! YEAH UNIVERSAL!!!, December 24, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Gimme a Break - Season One (DVD)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whoa, whoa, whoa Gimme A Break!, February 18, 2006
This review is from: Gimme a Break - Season One (DVD)
"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??) and classic episodes of "Charles In Charge" during the Pembroke family years and "Kate and Allie" and their squiggly blue wallpaper cellar apartment. Yes, get the DVD set. It makes for excellent memories. Need a break? You sure desrve one! (I just had to say that!)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great TV Show to Own on DVD, February 17, 2006
This review is from: Gimme a Break - Season One (DVD)
I hadn't seen this show since it originally aired, but it was always one of my favorites. Nell Carter is the shining star of this show - the rest of the cast simply acts off of her. I had forgotten that this show more often than not was a comedrama. Not a typical sitcom of today's standards. Sitcoms back then dealt with such serious issues and the tone was often very un-funny, but then here comes Nell with one of her great one-liners. Not quite as great as I remember it being, but still a nice show to own.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nell Carter ROCKS!!!!, March 5, 2006
This review is from: Gimme a Break - Season One (DVD)
I saw this and decided to give it a spin; I enjoyed it as a kid.

But that was 1981, I was 9.

It's now 2006.

I've enjoyed infinitely more so as, as an adult, I can appreciate the more refined subtleties of adult living (money, relationships, human nature).

What could have been a merely kitschy 80s sitcom is considerably elevated by Nell Carter's performance. She is a gem who packs a punch in her role as Nell, a maid to a police chief - played by Dolph Sweet. The Chief's wife, Margaret, had recently died and is raising 3 girls on his own and hires her to do the help.

Back to hyping up the delightful Nell; her work on doing kid-friendly pratfall jokes (e.g. vacuuming the fish tank!) are still fresh and uproarious today, and her take on "politically incorrect" humor only sweetens the pot. This show is refreshingly funny without resorting to crudity that's the norm in today's television. She really makes this show more than the sum of its parts and will instantly grow on you; this show is a CLASSIC. And, the kid jokes still work well on adults.

Even the product references of the time (Sanka brand coffee) are easily recognized and remembered, but then I'm something of a geek...

The children are interesting, but the naughty ones (Katie, the 'wild child') is my favorite.

DVD quality is pretty good and I'm an irrational stickler with this sort of thing. Video compression quality is more or less typical, but it looks good. The source material is fantastic and very well restored. And the audio is crisp and clean; excellently restored too.

I highly recommend this set to anybody. It's a terrific family show. This set is worth EVERY penny and I hope the remainder of the series comes out soon!

02/09/07 update: Having re-watched season 1 a couple more times, while it is true Nell Carter steals the show, it dawned on my my initial review may have sounded harsh, by ignoring the quality of all the actors on the show, for which I truly wish to apologize. Nell steals the show, but compared to other 80s family or other shows with child actors, the acting by ALL is solid and believable. I regret not having said that in the first place.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Overdue!, March 3, 2006
This review is from: Gimme a Break - Season One (DVD)
It truly is a shame that this couldn't have been released before Nell Carter's untimely death. But season sets of sitcoms weren't quite the rage that they have become in the few years since. So I'm glad that it's here now as one testament to this lady's undeniable talent!

As early-80's sitcoms go, "Gimme a Break" had a very real edge to it! Unlike with "Diff'rent Strokes," another sitcom of the time that dealt with an interracial family structure, one can easily find traits in the characters and storylines of "Gimme a Break" to relate to real life.* Firstly, Nell Carter in her role as "Nell" was NO-nonsense, but not in an overbearing kind of way. Both her and her character approached situations with a combination of wit, humor, and honesty that is rare to find. Secondly, the rest of the cast was equally strong! Dolph Sweet's portrayal of Chief Carl Kanisky may seem over-the-top by today's standards; but the way it was written was realistic and also, clearly, added to both the chemistry and tension between his character and Nell's. And the kids...

The kids were not just token kids. They each had complex, well-developed roles that were consistently entertaining. While the role of the youngest daughter, "Samantha," seemed somewhat trivial in the beginning, it gradually strengthened. Lara Jill Miller covered the emotional spectrum quite well for an actress of her age, and she exhibited keen senses of time and reaction in her portrayal of the "tomboy" sibling. She was also a very pretty girl, which made for a nice contrast to stereotypes of the type of character she was playing. Meanwhile, Lauri Hendler was strikingly effective in the role of "Julie." Similar to Miller, she was multi-dimensional in her acting, preventing the "nerdy" role from becoming uniform. Kari Michaelson as "Katie" was not as consistent in her delivery. There are times when there's a certain depth missing in her acting. But, she still showed potential, and did present a nice contrast to Miller and Hendler.

What made the realistic portrayal of these characters and their respective situations possible was the strong writing. Though the 25-minute sitcom format will never be limitless, the "Gimme a Break" writers did a refreshingly effective job of presenting the details and dimensions of each storyline. And any time the characters had a "change in personality," it was explained inherently within their lines and based in reality.

I could go on to describe the various plots of the episodes here, but this review would then verge on becoming a longer essay! However, the character development and writing at large speak volumes for this classic show! It's one of a kind, and it has an all-around feel-good vibe, while also tackling serious issues. The acoomplishment of both of those things is one of the benchmarks of a good sitcom, and "Gimme a Break" HAS IT...AND MORE!

*Note: I still AM a fan of "Diff'rent Strokes." In fact, you can read my review of "The Complete Second Season" DVD set on here!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nell Carter will delight your sense, April 8, 2011
By 
Navy Bean "Navy Bean" (Amsterdam/Dayton, OH) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gimme a Break - Season One (DVD)
Yes, Nell Carter was an attractive woman. Yes, she could sing with the voice of angel. Yes, she probably ate too much fried food. Yes, she did most likely have a love affair with Dolph Sweet. Yes, this was the best show on TV in 1983. Yes, I miss her. Yes, these DVDs do give me some solace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nell's the best, June 21, 2007
This review is from: Gimme a Break - Season One (DVD)
I have season one and I'm so glad they released season two,I encourage all
of you out there to purchase all the seasons as they come out, nell carter
is a wonderful actress,singer and all around funny lady,I enjoy her humor
and look forward to collecting the entire gimme a break collection.
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Gimme a Break - Season One
Gimme a Break - Season One by Nell Carter (DVD - 2006)
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