Yeah their really not doing justice to Ash this go around. I could figure out Palpitoad is resistance in a split second. Hell he had to interchange pokemon during the battle if I recall correctly. If you don't know what your team composition is going to be before the battle then there is something wrong with you in the big picture of things. Heck I would be a decent viable team up with little thought involved. Palpitoad(resistance to Electric attacks as well as Super Effective against all expect Emolga who is flying, unless there was Gravity or something involved), Roggenrola(super effective against Emolga), Pikachu(does normal damage too).
Maybe Pokemon League pays for renovations of gyms and the leaders implement them? Although some gyms look in better shape in others so I assume a lot of that is under the jurisdiction of the leaders and gym staff themselves?
Was the theme the one with the new pokemon rap?