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The Dad Who Knew Too Little
The Strong Arms of the Ma
Pray Anything

Steroids have turned me into everything I hate!
Marge Simpson

"The Strong Arms of The Ma" is the ninth episode of Season 14. It is also the 300th episode of The Simpsons in both production and broadcast order. "Barting Over", however, is averted as the 300th episode while "Strong Arms of the Ma" is the 298th.


Marge develops agoraphobia after being mugged. She finds release through working out and creates a career out of it.

Full Story

The Simpson family goes to Rainier Wolfcastle's bankruptcy garage sale, where everything that he owns is for sale at throwaway prices. Homer asks Rainier if he has anything that will go up in value when he passes on and is shown his old weightlifting set, complete with dumbbells and bench press. Homer takes it and packs everything in the car in the style of a Tetris game. The car becomes so over-packed that there's no room for Homer, who has to get carried home by Rainier in an adult-sized baby harness.

On the way home, Marge and the kids smell something terrible — it's Maggie! Marge quickly pulls into the Kwik-E-Mart, and Apu is reluctant about letting Marge use the restroom, but when he smells Maggie's dirty diaper, he quickly allows it. Later, as Marge comes out with a much sweeter-smelling Maggie, a shady character in a Goofy cap accosts her and threatens her with a gun. Finding only diapers in Marge's purse, he rips Marge's trademark pearl necklace off her neck and takes off. Marge, deeply traumatized by the incident, walks to her car in a daze and breaks down sobbing at the wheel in front of the kids.

The next day, the family files a police report and Chief Wiggum announces he will get on the case right away. But Marge remains deeply shell-shocked by her mugging. Homer gives her some pepper spray and some tips on how to handle an attacker, but it's no use. As she pulls up to the Kwik-E-Mart, Ralph Wiggum pops up to say hello. Shocked, she pepper-sprays him, quickly drives home in a fit of guilt and anxiety.

Marge has become a nervous wreck and cannot bring herself to even cross the threshold of her house. Homer and the kids try their level best to encourage her to go outside, but to no avail. Finally, she retreats into the basement. Feeling a bit safer down there, she prepares breakfast for the family and sets up a bed for herself. One day, while bored in her new surroundings, she eyes the weightlifting set Homer carelessly bought at Rainier Wolfcastle's garage sale and decides to start working out to pass the time.

The Strong Arms of the Ma.jpg

Two weeks later, she has become strong and fit, complete with six-pack abs (much to Homer's delight). When she abruptly dashes out to the garden to pick some lemons for breakfast, she realizes she is not afraid of the outside world any longer. Overjoyed, Marge starts running around town only to run into the very same mugger who triggered her initial agoraphobia. Refusing to be intimidated any longer, she beats the hooligan to a bloody pulp in a pique of vengeful anger. Homer gleefully declares "It's like I'm married to Shaft!" as the police arrive and arrest the crook. Marge starts exercising even more, getting steadily more muscular. One day, as she jogs by an open-air gym at the beach, she runs into Ruth Powers, her old neighbor (from "New Kid on the Block" and "Marge on the Lam"). Ruth is considerably more buff than the last time we saw her, which she credits to a stay in prison, though later she confesses to Marge that she's also on steroids. She talks Marge into using them, bragging that they have no side effects other than "greatness" and suggesting Marge is afraid of getting stronger. Marge is convinced.


Now on steroids (and soon a literal cocktail of other supplements and hormones as well) Marge starts exercising harder than ever, becomes incredibly muscular and estrogen-depleted. Her old personality gives way to a short temper and newfound violent streak, which proves quite harmful to everyone. Homer, seeing these changes, finds himself less attracted to her. When Homer politely tries to refuse Marge's sexual advances the night before her bodybuilding contest, she proceeds to rape him, leaving him too sore and exhausted to take care of the kids the next morning.

That night, the whole family attends the Iron Maiden Fitness Pageant, which Homer and the kids find deeply off-putting. Marge finishes second, and the family dreads how she will react.

Later that night, at Moe's, Marge boasts to the barflies about her performance, to which Homer gingerly replies that he's glad she hasn't lost her femininity. Marge reacts angrily, saying that's what prevented her from winning in the first place.


An unimpressed Moe only makes matters worse when he tells Marge "I don't got enough booze to make you look good". She flies into an uncontrollable rage, beating up everyone and completely trashing the bar. Homer (who has been hiding in the bathroom) comes out to confront his wife as she prepares to hurl Lenny. Terrified, Homer tells Marge that he misses the sweet, gentle woman he married, but knows she's still in there somewhere. Marge, suddenly horrified with what she's become, apologizes, drops Lenny, and leaves with Homer. Moe, in order to cover the costs of repairing his bar, sets fire to it. Carl points out that he has not insured the place yet.

Later, at the Simpson house, Marge throws her weight set into the basement furnace and the two retreat upstairs for some gentler snuggling.

Broadcast History

United States

Broadcast date(s) Channel aired
  • February 2, 2003
  • May 11, 2003
  • August 24, 2003
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  • December 29, 2020
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Season 13 Season 14 Episodes Season 15
Treehouse of Horror XIIIHow I Spent My Strummer VacationBart vs. Lisa vs. the Third GradeLarge MargeHelter ShelterThe Great Louse DetectiveSpecial EdnaThe Dad Who Knew Too LittleThe Strong Arms of the MaPray AnythingBarting OverI'm Spelling as Fast as I CanA Star is Born-AgainMr. Spritz Goes to WashingtonC.E. D'oh'Scuse Me While I Miss the SkyThree Gays of the CondoDude, Where's My Ranch?Old Yeller-BellyBrake My Wife, PleaseThe Bart of WarMoe Baby Blues