I have poor fashion taste, but even I know that Misty has bad tastes. Then again, Team Rocket doesn't have the best eye for fashion either... But it's made up with Brock breaking the radar. “I want to breed like you! I want to model you!”
This episode I don't believe counts as filler because Brock gets a new Pokémon at the end, but it sure feels like one. Last episode was boring and uninteresting (yet still had a memorable moment or two), and this one is a slight step-up from it, but not by much. Most of the time, it's just talk-talk-talk on inner beauty, and it got a bit annoying. Sure, it's nice to learn more about what breeders really are, but it came off as more anvilicious than anything else (despite it being a nice message). Thankfully, though, we do get a nice battle between Ash and Team Rocket, which has been a while since the Pokémon actually went head-to-head. It's also been a while since we saw Koffing and Ekans fighting nicely. They actually can fight well strategically and creatively, but we unfortunately don't see this very often, and it sadly goes away some time after they evolve.
The comedy is strong in 4KIDS' writing of dialogue, and it does show when it's between two people. Team Rocket have the most of it, but it's not neglected elsewhere. Ash and Misty in particular bounce off each other very well thanks to the combination of the writing and Veronica Taylor and Rachel Lillis' performances. I'm sure they bicker in the original Japanese, it's just that the dub made it more of a belligerent sexual tension, and it's funny. There's good chemistry between Ash and Misty even when they deny it many times over, but again, it mostly is because of the voice actresses' performances. Even though the episode didn't necessarily focus on them, it was still rather obvious.
I'm going to come out and say that I find Suzy annoying and bland. Sure, she's a memorable “one-shot” character and she's an excellent example of a Pokémon breeder outside of Brock. But I didn't like how she basically exists to give speeches on what true beauty is, even if it's what she knows best. It added to the whole anvilicious feel to the episode, and it gave me bad flashbacks of the infamous friendship speeches in the Yu-Gi-Oh! dub (even though it predated the dub by a few years). And from what I remember in her second appearance, she doesn't get better. I will also say to get out of the way that because of how the anime portrayed Pokémon attacks, I thought Vulpix was part-Psychic for a bit because of this episode. Not often do you see non-Psychic Pokémon's eyes glow.
You know, Salon Roquet would've probably been successful and quietly dropped off the map had Meowth not liked showing off his big mouth. Though I think he was the mastermind behind the salon judging from how detailed he was about it. Either way, it left a nice memory in how Team Rocket just sucks at fashion. But their disguises and idea here did make it to Pokémon Puzzle League for the Spa Service side-quest, which is where I personally remember it the most.
So overall, there's really not much to say about this episode. It kinda dragged for the first half, the plot did come to a halt for the sake of meeting Brock's potential love-interest/idol and so he can get a new Pokémon for the first in a while. Was it really worth watching? Eh, if you're interested in learning about breeders in the Pokémon world, it's more-or-less for that particular purpose. With exception of Vulpix and I guess Misty's strange taste in fashion, one isn't missing anything.
At least the next episode carries a punch still felt around the fandom fifteen/sixteen years after it aired.
(I found Waldo, by the way.)