Gimme a Break!: Seasons 1 and 2 [3 Discs] [DVD]

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Season one of Gimme a Break begins as sassy ex-singer Nell Harper (Nell Carter), honoring a favor owed to her late friend Margaret, takes over as housekeeper in the suburban California home of Margaret's husband, short-tempered police chief Carl Kanisky (Dolph Sweet). Nell quickly forms a bond with The Chief's three daughters Katie (Kari Michaelsen), Julie (Lauri Hendler), and Samantha (Lara Jill Miller), frequently taking the girls' side against their bombastic father. Even so, Nell and The Chief soon grow quite fond of one another, though it is hard to tell amidst the barrage of insults and "fat" jokes that the two hurl at one another. Also introduced this season is The Chief's curmudgeonly-but-lovable father Grandpa Kanisky (John Hoyt), whose wife, aka Grandma, is played by Elvia Allman in the episode "Katie the Cheat" and by Elizabeth Kerr in "Grandma Fools Around." Other supporting characters popping in and out of season one are Nell's scatterbrained friend Angie (Alvernette Jimenez); The Chief's thick-witted subordinate Officer Ralph Waldo Simpson (Howard Morton) and his mortician brother Ed Kanisky (Pete Schrum), Nell's ex-husband Tony (Ben Powers); and antagonistic reporter Hamilton Storm (played by Harrison Page, who also appeared in other roles), the main thorn in Chief Kanisky's side. Naturally, Nell Carter is afforded several opportunities to show off her singing talents during season one, most notably in the episode "Hot Muffins." These musical moments would increase significantly in later seasons when former Dawn singer Telma Hopkins joined the cast. ~ Hal Erickson

Cast & Crew

  • Nell Carter - Nellie Ruth `Nell' Harper
  • Dolph Sweet - Chief Carl Kanisky
  • Kari Michaelson - Katie Kanisky
  • Lauri Hendler - Julie Kanisky Maxwell
  • Lara Jill Miller - Samantha `Sam' Kanisky

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