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Jimmy Takes Steroids While Cartman Becomes Retarded in “Up the Down Steroid,” South Park Episode 803

I love this episode. It’s one of those socially profound episodes that is simultaneously so hilarious that you just have to love it.

Jimmy, intent on competing successfully (i.e. winning) in the Special Olympics, begins taking steroids. This ruins his relationship with his friend Timmy, who can’t believe he would cheat in such a vile manner. Jimmy, hopped up on steroids, turns violent and at one point beats the shit out of his girlfriend with his crutches and then even hits his mother. Hitting women is not funny or right yet something about this is so disturbing that you laugh out of discomfort.

In the meantime, Cartman has decided that to win the grand prize at the Special Olympics he just has to pretend to be retarded, compete with, as he thinks of them, a bunch of cripples and retards, and then take the money. He convinces his mom to sign him up and spends the entire episode learning how to behave like a handicapped individual. Again, terrible and hilarious.

When Kyle morally objects to Cartman’s behavior, genuinely concerned that his actions will send him to Hell, Cartman explains that it is actually Kyle, as a Jew, who is in danger of an eternity of damnation.

At the Special Olympics, Cartman comes in last place because he is out of shape and being handicapped doesn’t stop the other kids from being successful athletes. Jimmy wins, but when he realizes that he only won by cheating, he confesses his actions and gives a lengthy lecture – while we stare at Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Jason Giambi – about how people who use steroids are worthless pussies who should confess that they are big cheaters and insist that their names be stricken from the record books.

Awesome. What did you think of this episode? How do you feel about steroid use in professional sports?

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