James caught Victreebel as a Weepinbell sometime between So Near, Yet So Farfetch'd and The Breeding Center Secret. Prior to the latter episode, he left Weepinbell at the breeding center Cassidy and Butch were operating, unaware that the center was run by Team Rocket. In the episode itself, he, Jessie, and Meowth broke into the center and learned that it was under Team Rocket's control. He did not immediately follow Jessie and Meowth in escaping the breeding center, instead he looking around for his Weepinbell upon remembering it was the same breeding center where he'd left it. After some searching, James located his Pokémon and discovered that it had evolved into a Victreebel, and the two had a joyous reunion. Victreebel was only used once by James during Kanto, being used in All Fired Up! to help extinguish Meowth, who was on fire. However, instead of extinguishing the flames, Victreebel itself caught fire, and Ash needed to intervene with Squirtle to put out the fire.
In the Orange Islands, James started to use Victreebel in battle, occasionally using it in place of Weezing alongside Jessie's Arbok or Lickitung. In addition to battling, Victreebel started to play a larger role in the team's plans. In A Way Off Day Off, James used Victreebel's Sleep Powder to put Ash, his friends, and all of their Pokémon to sleep in order to be able to steal their Pokémon and get away unopposed. This failed, however, due to Snorlax being too heavy for them to steal.
Victreebel in love
During Johto, Victreebel became James's primary combatant. In Wobbu-Palooza!, Victreebel was used alongside Arbok to try to stop the Wobbuffet Festival crashers, since everyone else refused to fight due to the festival rules. Victreebel tried its best, but was easily defeated when overwhelmed by the thugs' Machoke and Primeape. Wobbuffet was sent out afterwards and managed to defeat them with its Counter attack.
In Here's Lookin' at You, Elekid, the Magikarp salesman encountered Team Rocket yet again, and upon an irate James demanding a refund for a priorpurchase, offered to instead trade to them a Weepinbell for one of their Pokémon. He stated that Weepinbell's Sweet Scent move would help them to catch Pokémon, which convinced them it was a good deal, and got them thinking about which Pokémon to trade. Meowth refused to be traded, and Jessie and James each made it very clear they were unwilling to part with Arbok, Weezing, or Wobbuffet, which led to Jessie and Meowth volunteering Victreebel. James adamantly refused, and had flashbacks to the times he spent with Victreebel, including one flashback of his first encounter with it in the Weepinbell stage, where he used Weezing to battle and catch it. Despite this, Jessie and Meowth forced him to make the trade anyway, though he was very unhappy about doing so.
Later in that same episode, the Weepinbell unexpectedly evolved into another Victreebel while battling Ash and Casey. Immediately after evolving, the new Victreebel chomped down on Jessie, which caused her to order Arbok to send it flying, to James's dismay. At the same time, the Magikarp Salesman kicked James's first Victreebel away, coming to the realization that it won't obey him. The two Victreebel collided in midair, falling in love with each other at first sight. They were last seen skipping off together into the forest.
James mentioned Victreebel in Two Degrees of Separation! while Carnivine was biting on his head, stating that it wasn't the only Pokémon that showed affection towards him in such a manner.
Victreebel reappeared in a flashback in The Grass-Type is Always Greener. Gardenia mentioned the species as one of her favorites to James, which provoked a memory of his own Victreebel. She even offered to trade her own Victreebel to James for his Carnivine, but he declined.
Personality and characteristics
Victreebel showing its affection
Victreebel has great affection for James, and was never shy about showing it by chomping down on him whenever sent out of its Poké Ball. Occasionally, it would instead chomp down on Meowth, Jessie, or even Jessie's Arbok instead of James, which implies that its affection wasn't just for James, but for the team as a whole. Victreebel's decidedly unique means of showing affection marked the beginning of the running gag of James's Grass-type Pokémon attacking him whenever sent out. Despite the minor mayhem its displays of affection would cause, it would always follow James's orders in battle without question, showing undying loyalty to its Trainer.
In Here's Lookin' at You, Elekid, James's various flashbacks of Victreebel indicated that the two of them spent a lot of time together, with James understanding the friendly intentions behind Victreebel's constant chomping. One such flashback showed Victreebel choosing to chomp James's head before eating the food before it, showing that it was by no means ungrateful for everything James did for it. Later in the episode, Victreebel did not react well to being traded, and showed a complete refusal to accept the Magikarp salesman as its new Trainer, once again showing complete loyalty to James, which in turn caused the Magikarp salesman to release it once he realized Victreebel wouldn't listen to him.