It’s day three of Professor Sycamore’s Pokemon summer camp, and the camp’s director and diagnosed sex addict is currently enjoying the sunrise the morning after a night of passionate whoopee-making with Nurse Joy (and her Wigglytuff?!?!), while Ash and the gang are down on the beach participating in Serena’s rigorous workout. The members of Team Froakie are looking to rebound from a disappointing day two, where they only managed to earn three points in the day’s fishing competition. Ash was bereft of the angling skills of his original girlfriend, Misty, and the best that his current squeeze Serena was able to fish up was the Tomboyish Mermaid’s signature Staryu (Didn’t Ash think to use Misty’s special lure?). For his part, Clemont only found a Corphish with the same disposition as Ash’s old Pokemon. Meanwhile, little Trevor of Team Squirtle somehow managed to hook a Wailord (it undoubtedly came ashore in order to chase some hot Skitty tail), thereby securing a win for his team and ten points in the standings.
Inside the mess hall, the campers are happily chowing down on a breakfast prepared by Team Rocket – still undercover as the camp’s cooking staff – and everyone is audibly delighted by the taste of the meal. Our villains are once again demonstrating their proclivity for succeeding at all manner of jobs except for their chosen career as criminals. Basking the the praise of the children, James utters an unintentionally sketchy line, declaring that he is positively “swelling with pride!” (Certainly Jessie has never succeeding at getting one particular part of James’ body to swell up…)
Professor Sexymore introduces his campers to today’s competition – they will be making Pokevision videos. It is now Sycamore’s turn for a sketchy line, as he informs the children, “I want to show you a video I made as an example!” Thankfully, the possibly pedophiliac professor is not about to engage in an act of prerecorded exhibitionism, but rather plays a film of himself giving a tour of his laboratory in Lumiose City, while showing off his lovely lady “research assistants” in the process. One of these ladies is on hand and informs the campers that their videos should focus on the womanly arts of cooking and grooming (both of which were Brock’s specialities…), and this comes as welcome news to girly-girl Serena, who is much more in touch with her feminine side than angry tomboy Misty – meaning that this event should favor Team Froakie.
Serena and Shauna charge off, both eager to get started on their videos, while the rest of Teams Squirtle and Froakie trudge along behind. Previously, Serena had to dress up like a Pokemon to trick her boyfriend into helping her make a Pokevision video, but now that the activity is being done competitively, suddenly gym class hero Ash Ketchum is so enthused about filming that he even wants to win the unofficial race back to the cabin. Inside Team Froakie headquarters, Serena unveils her storyboard for what she hopes will be the best Pokevision film at the festival. The screenplay stars Fennekin, Pikachu, Froakie, Chespin, and Dedenne, and it calls for the five Pokemon to do…absolutely nothing! Serena wants her Poke-actors to frolic around in a field being themselves and displaying their friendship – a plot that involves even less story than your average episode of Pokemon. And while Serena might want to hold off on practicing her Oscar acceptance speech, at least her teammates seem excited. Dumb-Ash is confident in victory, as is Clemont, who uses this opportunity to reintroduce his cameraman/murderer robot from the previous Pokevision episode. The prodigious inventor and John Denver lookalike proves that intelligence is different than wisdom, because he asks Pallet Town’s village idiot to help him fine-tune the complicated automaton.
So with Ash and Clemont busy doing the stereotypically manly work of machine repair, Bonnie and Serena respond by baking up a batch of Pokepuffs – with Bonnie in her Snubbull jammies in order to be as comfy as possible. But the kitchen soon becomes a classroom as well when Shauna saunters up to the women of Team Froakie and asks them if they have heard the latest gossip about Aria – the Japanese schoolgirl/pop star/sex icon introduced in A Pokevision of Things to Come. It seems that Aria’s Fennekin has evolved into a Braixen, which is important because Aria is basically the biggest thing since sliced bread to the Kalos entertainment industry. Shauna favorably notes that even though Aria is now a big-shot Pokemon Performer, she still regularly updates Pokevision videos for the common people (and dirty old men) to consume. Both Bonnie and Serena admit that they have never heard of Pokemon Showcases, and an exasperated Shauna proceeds to explain it to them (and us as well). In a nutshell, these girls-only events seem to be analogous to the creepy underage beauty pageants that are popular in some parts of the American heartland. (Can Brock be a judge?) The champion of the Pokemon Showcase circuit is crowned Kalos Queen – a title which undoubtedly involves riding in open-top cars during parades and county fairs – and the current queen is none other than Aria herself. (A Kalos Queen you say? …Is it possible that Kanto’s premier queen – Lady James of Team Rocket – might sneak into a Showcase or two? Or perhaps Hoenn’s Harley – he has definitely shown a willingness to bend genders when the need arrises. Of course there is always a chance that Ash-ley might make a stand against the unfairness of gender segregation, as he did in Pokemon Scent-sation)
After the break (Who’s that Pokemon? Bulbasaur!), Team Froakie sets out to find a suitable location on which to film their video. Just Like a Woman, Serena can’t seem to find a place that she really likes, but soon she breaks just like a little girl and slides down a cliff – accompanied by Ash who grabbed her hand at the last moment. Serena has her unwitting boyfriend just where she wants him – alone at last – but issues a statement that is probably counter to her eventual goals, “the swelling should go down a bit now.” (That’s my second swelling/erection joke this episode for those at home keeping score) Unfortunately for AmourShippers, Clemont and Bonnie rush back to camp to inform the professor about the predicament that two of his campers have landed in. But Sexymore doesn’t want to dirty himself personally rescuing the children under his protection, so he delegates the task to his kitchen staff.
Team Rocket to the rescue!
Ash and Serena thank the blue-haired man, red-haired woman, and furry midget with whiskers and paws for saving them, and our hero manages to resist his subconscious urge to blast them with thousands of volts of electricity and send them flying off to their potential deaths. Serena finally manages to find a meadow that meets with her approval and the video shoot gets under way – with Clemont taking advantage of her temporary distraction to get a little handsy with Ash… (DiodeShipping!)
Later that evening, the campers all return to the great hall in order to view the Pokevision videos that the various cabin teams spent the day filming. The writers reinforce the fact that Teams Squirtle and Froakie are the only two relevant groups at Camp Sycamore by cutting right to their videos. The neo Squirtle Squad emphasized the battle abilities of their Kanto starters, while also including Shauna striking a pose in the midst of a shower of heart-shaped Petal Dance for the benefit of Professor pedophile. Serena meanwhile, sticks to her original concept of Team Froakie’s Pokemon frolicking in the aforementioned meadow along with some Pokepuff-related hijinks.
Sexymore takes some time to review the submissions in private (including some alone time with certain frames featuring the female campers), so Serena and Shauna partake in some alone time of their own, watching the moon rise over Lake Sycamore. Serena appears to have resolved her early-life crisis from the previous episode, but instead of deciding to become a more mature and well-rounded character, Serena has resolved to continue in her vapid and stereotypically feminine ways by entering the Pokemon Showcase circuit with the intention of dethroning Queen Aria.
Back inside, Sycamore reveals the second and third placed videos, and surprisingly enough, they were not made by either Teams Froakie or Squirtle! One video stars a bejeweled Wailord levitating some other water Pokemon with its blowhole spray (calm down), while the other features some flying Pokemon – crowning a May Queen or something? It doesn’t matter though, because the winner of the ten points is … Gryffindor! Ahem, I mean Team Froakie! And on that happy note, ends another day at Camp Sycamore.
Final thoughts: This episode wasn’t quite as good as the debut of the summer camp arc, but there were still a lot of neat things here. It was nice to see Serena resolve her crisis, even if it wasn’t as drawn out or profound as I originally hoped. The introduction of Pokemon Performing was also enjoyable in a silly sort of way – the cultural disconnect between crude-but-prude North America and openly sexual Japan is always interesting; it’s got to be hard for the translators to cover up the blatant sexualization of the pre-adolescent Pokemon Showcase girls. Hopefully the plot will get more interesting when the story inevitably shifts to the battling portion of the camp. I certainly don’t want a repeat of the Korrina arc – with its continuous descent in quality.