The friends arrive in North Petalburg and stop by the Pokémon Center, where May and Max are quickly recognized as the children of Norman. The siblings are swamped by an adoring crowd. Ash and Brock manage to escape and wander off.
Team Rocket arrives in town and they decide to disguise themselves as Norman's family (Norman, Caroline, May, and Max) to conduct an autograph-selling scam.
When Ash mentions that he's planning to take on Norman in the Petalburg Gym, a whole crowd of Norman-devotees challenge Ash to battles. Ash easily beats them all, exhausting his Pokémon (and himself). Word gets around about how good he is, so the crowd with the siblings pressures May to battle Ash in order to teach him a lesson. Her Torchic uses Ember on Ash, and he falls over.
The still-disguised Team Rocket disappears, causing another crowd of people to search them out. The two crowds meet, and begin to argue over which version of May and Max is the real thing. May uses Ember to burn away Team Rocket's costumes, and Pikachu sends their balloon blasting away with Thunderbolt.
The crowd is impressed with the defeat of Team Rocket—by Pikachu. Though Ash is dejected, the kids set off for Petalburg City.
The group arrives in North Petalburg, a city close to their next destination Petalburg City, and go straight to the local Pokémon Center. Nurse Joy instantly recognizes May and Max, as does the local greengrocer, Rose, who is delivering produce to the Center. Rose leaves to inform the other residents, and by the time the group leave the Center, a mob of people have gathered to meet the siblings. Max and May’s visit to North Petalburg thrills the local Norman fans, and even North Petalburg News reporter Dee Dunstan has arrived to get an interview with the pair. Max encourages May to show the crowd her Pokémon Contest Ribbons, she nervously agrees. The crowd is impressed by May's two Ribbons, stating her progress is amazing given the short period of time. Ash interjects and tries to impress the crowd with his four Badges, but they are unimpressed and push him outside of the mob.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket arrive at North Petalburg as well, but tired and hungry. A giant advertisement featuring Norman and Caroline captures the trio's attention. Initially they don't recognize them, but then Jessie realizes it's Norman, the Petalburg Gym Leader and Caroline, his wife. They look around and see everyone with Norman memorabilia including shorts and a stall selling dolls, so Team Rocket disguises themselves as Norman and his family. James dresses up as Norman, Jessie as Caroline, Wobbuffet as Max and Meowth as May. The quartet are quickly mobbed by another group of Norman fans. Jessie has her doubts about this plan. However, a man claiming to have lived almost all of his life next door to Norman comes and evaluates them to see if they're the real ones. He notices "Max" is blue, and how "May" hasn't grown, but fails to realize the fake son and daughter, and surprisingly declares Team Rocket as the real family. Team Rocket begin to sell merchandise to their new following.
Meanwhile, Max and May are becoming overwhelmed by all of the attention. However, Rose asks to see May's Contest performances, and May agrees to it. She orders out Beautifly and dazzles the crowd with its Silver Wind. May is quickly becoming overconfident thanks to her enthusiastic audience. She also calls out her Skitty for a juggling act. Her showcase, however, is interrupted by two young boys, who alert the crowd to a tough Trainer who has been defeating everyone's Pokémon. May, despite her exhaustion, is pushed into taking on this Trainer by her new fans, unaware that the Trainer is her travel companion Ash until she arrives at a nearby park. The crowd is carries May and Max in an open palanquin, decorated with several red lanterns with a Balance Badge motif on them. Ash accepts the challenge, and, upon the cheers from the crowd, May develops overconfidence again.
May thinks Skitty and Beautifly are too tired, so she sends out Torchic. Ash tries to call Pikachu, but he collapses from exhaustion, so he selects Taillow instead. Ash orders a Peck and it hits Torchic, but the crowd begins booing Ash. He tries to ignore them and tells Taillow to use Wing Attack, which scores a clean hit. The crowd starts booing again, and Ash can't stand it, leaving himself wide open for an Ember attack. May, unaware again, over-enthusiastically orders Torchic to keep going with Ember and the individual embers combine into a massive flame which burns Ash and causes him to collapse. Rose declares Ash unable to battle, and thus, May is announced as the victor, much to her appreciation. Following May's victory, Dee Dunstan begins interviewing her. In that moment, a guy arrives at the park saying that Norman is giving autographs for money and that his children are by the fountain. He is however shocked to see May and Max are right in front of him. Rose declares the individuals by the fountain must be impostors, so the crowd makes its way to the fountain, carrying May and Max again.
Finally, Team Rocket is cornered by the fans following them and the other mob that are with the real May and Max. May and Max are surprised to see their parents are in town, though their attention quickly turns to Wobbuffet and Meowth's obvious blue skin and short stature respectively. Rose and her husband, the guy who claimed to have lived almost all his life next door to Norman, begin arguing over which duo are the real ones. As Ash and Brock arrive on the scene, May tells them that the disguised Wobbuffet and Meowth only claim to be them, and Team Rocket reply that May and Max are the fake ones. Upon hearing this, May orders Torchic to use Ember and the attack torches Team Rocket's disguises. With their true identities revealed, Team Rocket launch into their motto and send out Cacnea and Seviper. Cacnea uses Pin Missile, but Pikachu counters it with Thunderbolt. Seviper uses Haze, which gives Team Rocket enough time to escape and grab Pikachu though they nabbed Torchic instead. Pikachu climbs up a tree and Ash orders him to use Quick Attack, freeing Torchic and the stolen money. A large crowd scrambles to catch Torchic from its fall, though the Pokémon lands safely in May's arms. Rose and her husband capture the sacks of money. Ash then orders Pikachu to defeat Team Rocket with Thunderbolt, destroying their balloon. Rose and Dee commend Ash, and as he tells them it was nothing, they inform him that they were actually complimenting Pikachu instead. By evening, the group leaves North Petalburg and its enthusiastic Norman fans and continue onto Petalburg City and Ash's next Gym battle.