Yeah, so there was a phase i went through right around highschool somewhere where i was actually interested in Pokemon. Mostly the show, as i did not grow up a nintendo kid (::coughcommodore64/128cough::, but you know, this article actually does appear to have some merit.

Did one ever know the reason why the pacing and story development change after Ash was hit by lightning in the beginning episodes? How Ash and his world were relatively normal until after the incident? I have a theory. The accident with the bike put Ash in a coma. Days later he was found and was hurried to the hospital and treated with heavy medications. This is why Team Rocket became less menacing. The medication took effect and stabilized his coma dreams, instead of being terrifying, they became idyllic, and he’s able to live out his Pokémon master fantasies.

To read the whole thing, i recommend hitting up The Ash Ketchum Theory – Forums.