Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Gimmie a Break!: Season One

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
5 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Nell Carter as Nellie Ruth "Nell" Harper
Dolph Sweet as Chief Carl Kanisky
Kari Michaelson as Katie Kanisky
Lauri Hendler as Julie Kanisky Maxwell
Lara Jill Miller as Samantha "Sam" Kanisky
Howard Morton as Officer Ralph Simpson

Special Features:
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"

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono Sound
Running Time: 7 Hours 47 Minutes

Synopsis:
This is the first season of Gimmie a Break! which originally aired in 1981 - 1982. The following text is from the DVD cover:

"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 and 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."

Gimmie a Break!: Season One is not rated.

Mini-Review:
Nostalgia is a funny thing. Sometimes when you go back and revisit something like an old TV show you find that it brings up all sorts of great memories from the past and it's just as exciting as it was when you were younger. Other times when you look back you find out that it wasn't nearly as good as you remembered and it doesn't hold up to the test of time. That's the case with Gimmie a Break!. I used to watch the show religiously as a child. I thought it was funny and was thoroughly entertained by Nell Carter and the kids. However, years later, I have to wonder what the appeal was.

Nell Carter was an undeniably strong presence. Her confidence and wicked sense of humor held the show together. She provided the only reason to see Gimmie a Break!. Unfortunately, she alone is not reason enough to revisit the series. The stories are incredibly simplistic, the acting weak, and the jokes generally unfunny unless you're a kid. One of the few reasons to watch the show is to see the amusing fashions from the early 80's. The guest stars like Helen Hunt and Danny Glover are also fun to see, but that alone isn't a big enough reason to spend money on this DVD. I have a hard time believing that kids today will be entertained by this show for long. About the only people that will want to buy this DVD are die-hard fans of the series when it originally aired. While I liked it as a kid, I can't say I'd want to buy it now. Some things are best left in the past.

Universal typically doesn't offer many bonus features with their TV series DVDs and this one is no different. There are no commentaries or interviews with the surviving cast. What you will find is a TV show retrospective that briefly highlights other Universal shows like Miami Vice, The A-Team, Magnum P.I., and others. Some bonus episodes from Charles in Charge and Kate & Allie are also included.

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