As the Special Olympics are coming up, Jimmy goes through intensive training to win, even resorting to steroids. Meanwhile, Cartman hits a new low by training to fake mental illness to get into the Special Olympics. After all, he's so much more likely to win than a bunch of retarded kids, right?
Up The Down Steroid contains examples of:
- Age-Inappropriate Dress: Jimmy's girlfriend, Nancy, wears a crop top and a belly button ring despite being no older than 10.
- Artistic License Sports: Jimmy is competing in the Special Olympics, even though those are for intellectually handicapped people, and not the physically handicapped (who compete in the Paralympics). Jimmy, aside from his stutter, seems to be physically handicapped more than mentally handicapped.
- Artistic License Religion: Kyle tells Cartman he's going to hell for faking being handicapped, though there is no hell in the Jewish faith. This gets even more inexplicable considering his voice actor/co-creator, Matt Stone, is Jewish himself.
- Bastard Boyfriend: Jimmy becomes this as a result of the steroids.
- Blatant Lies: Cartman telling the boys he faked his handicap to get Jimmy to confess.
- Call-Forward: Nathan, Jimmy's Unknown Rival from Crippled Summer makes his first appearance this episode.
- Did Not Think This Through: Cartman fails to realize two things that are wrong with his plan. The first being that he wouldn't be able to compete with the other kids since he is unathletic and out of shape. The second being that Jimmy and Timmy would see him at the event and reveal to everyone that he isn't really handicapped.
- Handicapped Badass: Cartman's competition turns out to be this, much to his detriment.
- Hypocrite: Jimmy gets mad at Cartman for cheating despite cheating himself, thankfully Timmy calling Jimmy out on this is what gets Jimmy to come clean.
- Karma Houdini:
- Cartman not only gets away with faking a mental handicap, but gets to keep his voucher for Shakey's even though Jimmy revealed to everyone Cartman was faking it. On the other hand, he's been deeply, deeply humiliated.
- While Jimmy admits that he cheated and used steroids, he's never shown answering (or apologizing) for the abuse he heaped on both his girlfriend and mother.
- Reality Ensues: While Cartman might not be handicapped, he's fat, out of shape and possesses no athletic ability. Therefore, when he goes up against the other kids who spent weeks training for the events, he finishes in dead last.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Jimmy comes clean about using his steroids, the camera focuses on Giambi, Bonds, and McGwire implying his speech about how people who do steroids are pussies is meant as this trope towards them.
- Shout-Out: The title comes from the book Up the Down Staircase.
- Take That!: Notorious cheaters Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi are called "big fat pussies" for taking steroids.
- True Companions: Timmy goes to every length he can to stop Jimmy from taking steroids.
- Believe it or not, Kyle was actually this towards Cartman when he shows genuine concern that Cartman will go to Hell for his plan. He even calls himself Cartman's friend.
- Underestimating Badassery: Cartman thinks that he can beat every mentally and physically-disabled participant in the Special Olympics easily on account of being neither (in his own mind anyway). Turns out that's not the case at all, and he ends up coming in last place in every event.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Cartman responds to Kyle's genuine concern he'll go to Hell by making an antisemitic comment, telling Kyle he'll go to Hell, and pretending he's worried about Kyle going to Hell.