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The TV show Gimme a Break was a comedy starring Nell Carter. She played the vivacious character Nell Harper. Nell had agreed to be the housekeeper for her friend's family after she became ill and passed away. The husband of her friend was Police Chief Carl Kanisky. He was raising 3 teenage daughters alone. Nell helped out with the girls by lending an ear and giving them a woman's perspective. Nell and the chief butted heads many times but at the end of the day, they were still family.

The oldest daughter was Katie Kanisky. She was the beautiful blonde but not the brightest Kanisky in the household. Often times, she wouldn't understand something so Nell or her middle sister would have to explain it to her. She eventually opened a boutique but it went out of business.

The middle child was Julie Kanisky. She was the typical brain and loved to show it. Katie was an easy target for Julie. She loved to show how smart she was and usually at Katie's expense.

The youngest of the girls was Samantha Kinisky. She liked to be called Sam. Sam was a tomboy through and through. Climbing trees and playing ball was all in a day's work for Sam. Once she hit her later teens, she then became somewhat boy crazy.

Later in the series, along came little Joey Donovan played by Joey Lawrence. He was an orphan/con-artist that won the hearts of Nell and the whole family. He moved in with them and they were his foster family.

Midway through the series the father dies. It's very tough on the whole family. Not long after that Katie moves away to San Francisco for a job. Julie gets married, has a baby, and her family moves to San Jose. Sam ends up moving to New Jersey to go to college. Nell moves to New York with Joey and her best friend Addy.

6 Seasons, 137 Episodes - Canceled
October 29, 1981
Gimme a Break!
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Gimme a Break! Full Episode Guide

  • Nell is forced to look at her mother in a whole new light when she finds out that she's dating again. As it turns out, the lucky man is a jazz musician her mother knew long before she decided to get married, and now they're rekindling their romance.

  • Nell is wooed by an African man who invented chocolate chip cookies in his African country. She is given a necklace by him, and is given a proposal to be his wife. She tells Addy that they should all move to Africa if she decides to accept his proosal, but in the end she declines it, when he tells her his mother wants him to marry a pure woman who hasnt had sex before. She is however, mad that she gave back the expensive necklace that she was given by him.

  • Nell tries to convice Samantha to stay in college, and in the end, is successful at doing so. She also is successful at helping a fellow studen of Sam's to both stand up to his father and get his book published.

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