One of the things that always pisses me off about Kanto (which I wonder if Dogasu will talk about whenever he does "Pallet Party Panic") was how Pidgeotto was just kind of thrown aside once the starters entered the story. On one hand I can kind of understand since the battles here are slightly more "realistic" than what they'll become post-Johto, but Pidgeotto getting the shaft over and over again really annoyed me all throughout the saga. And its most significant victory was not only downplayed, but happened in a way that's just as BS as Pikachu electrocuting a Ground-type. So when this episode had that whole TR subplot that seemed to exist JUST to tire out Pidgeotto and force Ash to use Charizard, that was the last straw regarding this League for me. Back when Season 2 first started airing, I had seen some clips of the Orange Islands and found out that Ash wouldn't be facing the Elite Four, so I figured he'd lose at some point along the way. I was racking my brain trying to figure out how Ash could conceivably win against Lance or Agatha with his blah team, so seeing him lose was more of a relief in my mind than anything. I think the whole "Don't blame the characters, blame the writer!" is a bit wrong, though. By blaming Team Rocket taking up so much time and wearing out Ash's Pokémon, people pretty much ARE blaming the writers. One thing I will give the ref credit is DQing Charizard. I mean, it literally refused to get up and battle, and likely wouldn't have unless Ritchie attacked it. You refuse to compete, you lose. Something I've always wondered about this arc though: Who's watching the lab? The Professor doesn't have an assistant yet, so who's feeding all the Pokémon? Also, how did Ash send Muk and Kingler back to the lab if there's no one there to receive the Poké Ball?