Performance and image-enhancing drugs in popular culture (Television)

pop culture feature


Different Strokes, S08 E19 (1986). ‘The Front Page’. [Tandem Productions]. National Broadcasting Company

Sitcom. Arnold goes undercover to discover high school students are using steroids.

Cries Unheard: The Donna Yaklich Story. (1994). Mastroianni, A. (Director). United States

TV Film. A made-for-TV thriller based on a true story about a woman who organises men to murder her abusive husband who is ‘hooked on steroids’.

Lifestories: Families in Crisis, S03 E02 (1994). ‘A body to die for: The Aaron Henry story’. [Home Box Office]. Home Box Office

TV Film. Ben Affleck stars as a high-school student who develops a steroid ‘addiction’.

Heartbreak High, S05 E17 (1997). No title known. Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Teen drama. Ryan’s friend from Newcastle comes to visit. After noticing his friend’s strange and aggressive behaviour, Ryan discovers he is taking steroids.

The Simpsons, S14 E09 (2003). ‘Strong Arms of Ma’ [Gracie Films]. Fox Broadcasting Company

Animated sitcom. Marge develops agoraphobia in response to a traumatic mugging. She overcomes her fear through exercise and bodybuilding, which leads to taking anabolic steroids and a change in personality.

South Park, S08 E02 (2004). ‘Up the down steroid’. [South Park Studios]. Comedy Central

Animated sitcom. Jimmy begins using steroids to improve his chances in the Paralympic Games.

Veronica Mars, S01 E05 (2004). ‘You think you know somebody’. [Warner Bros. Television et al.]. United Paramount Network

Crime. Veronica’s junior year boyfriend Troy smuggles steroids across the Mexican/US border.

Friday Night Lights, S01 (2007). Multiple episodes. [Universal Media Studios et al.]. National Broadcasting Company

Sports drama. During the first season, footballer Brian ‘Smash’ Williams uses steroids to increase his size.

Degrassi High, S08 E10 (2009). ‘Bad medicine’. [Playing With Time Inc.]. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Teen drama. Riley turns to steroids in an attempt to keep his homosexuality ‘hidden’. After some violent outbursts and aggression, he quits taking steroids.

Family Guy, S07 E13 (2009). ‘Stew-Roids’. [Fuzzy Door Productions et al.]. Fox Broadcasting Company

Animated sitcom. Stewie begins taking steroids after he is beaten up by Susie.

The Good Wife, S01 E12 (2010). ‘Painkiller’. [Scott Free Productions et al.]. Columbia Broadcasting System

Drama. Investigating the death of a high school football player, Cary purchases PIEDs from a fellow gym-goer.

Brooklyn Nine Nine, S01 E14 (2014). ‘The Ebony Falcon’. [Fremulon et al.]. Fox Broadcasting Company

Police sitcom. On his first task back in the field, Terry busts a steroid ring.

Broad City, S03 E03 (2016). ‘Game Over’. [Paper Kite Productions et al.]. Comedy Central

Sitcom. Trey believes Abbi is taking steroids after being promoted to the position of a trainer at the gym.

Family Guy, S15 E11 (2017). ‘Gronkowsbees’. [Fuzzy Door Productions et al.]. Fox Broadcasting Company

Animated sitcom. Stewie begins beekeeping, and gives them steroids, which makes the bees aggressive.

13 Reasons Why, Season 2 (2018). Multiple episodes. [July Moon Productions et al.]. Netflix

Teen drama. In Season 2 the baseball team inject steroids, with resident villain Bryce injecting steroids into Monty’s back.

Nashville, S06 (2018). Multiple episodes. [American Broadcasting Company Studios et al.]. American Broadcasting Company

Drama. Central character Will, a gay country-music heartthrob, starts seeing a guy he meets at the gym and begins to use steroids when he learns he cannot perform sexually. His continuing use of steroids culminates in a collapse during a live television performance.