I Choose You! was the pilot episode of the Bongomon series. It was created by Ted and Nick Phillips using the computer program Microsoft 3D Movie Maker on August 21-22, 2000 and aired upon completion. However, the original file was lost due to a corrupted hard disk, so the episode was recreated in June 2005 and released to a private audience on Saturday, June 11, 2005. The remake is the version now available on DVD.
The series opens with Professor Bongo, the Bongomon professor, explaining the Bongomon world. Bash arrives at the door and Professor Bongo gives him his first Bongomon, Bongo.
Bash then goes to the local pub and restaurant, Frank's, for some beer and a burger, when his rival, Larry, antagonizes him. When Bash is distracted, Frank throws the tray of food to him and it gets all over his shirt, so Bash goes home and cleans himself off.
The next day, Bash sees two Bongomon trainers having a battle. He sends out Bongo to join them in playing, but the other Bongos are bigger than Bash's, and Bongo is sent flying into the sky. Bongo evolves into Largris and returns to Bash in triumph, crushing the other two Bongos with its step.
When Bash is resting later, his mom tells him to go out and buy milk. After Bash purchases the milk, he notices a sign advertising the Bongomon League. Bash drops the milk and heads for the nearest Bongomon gym. He challenges the local gym leader, Crock, but he has forgotten his Bongoball at home. Crock allows him to go home to retrieve the Bongoball with a binding time limit of ten minutes.
Bash runs up the street towards his house, but at an intersection, three cars collide and flip over onto him. Over three minutes later, he awakens and continues running. When he tries to enter his house, his mom yells at him because he doesn't have the milk. Bash goes across the street to Frank's to buy milk. After an extended wait and confrontation with Larry, Bash emerges with a carton of milk.
When he returns home, the front door is locked, so he climbs up the side of his house and enters his room through the window. He grabs his Bongoball, drops off the milk, and heads down the street towards the gym. A running stranger hands him a mysterious item, and a police car pulls up and Bash is arrested. To escape, Bash opens his Bongoball to reveal Largris, who explodes the police car with his size.
Bash finally enters the gym to start the battle. Crock sends out his Microle against Bash's Largris. Microle uses Seismic Toss and throws Largris through the wall of the gym.
A substantial part of Bongomon is based on Sciémon, a Pokémon parody made by Nick Phillips with Microsoft 3D Movie Maker in Fall 1999. Sciémon also had a protagonist named Bash and a gym leader named Crock whose gym was a shopping mall.
Ted and Nick Phillips first made "I Choose You!" on August 21-22, 2000 with 3D Movie Maker. They frequently showed it to their friends until the file was permanently lost due to the corruption of their hard disk in April 2001. However, Nick luckily had the episode memorized and published the transcript serially in the Pokémon Trainers Club Newsletter between October 23 and December 3, 2001.
On June 4, 2005, Ted and Nick Phillips attended a graduation party at Tom Fulgione's house, where Ted asked Nick to recite the episode. The recitation was such a hit that Ted commissioned Nick to remake the episode from scratch before Ted's graduation party on June 11. Nick made the episode over the next week and finished it while the party was in progress. They showed it to the attendants, but Nick was not entirely pleased because the timing on some of the sound effects was off.
In Fall 2005, Ted Phillips found some software in the 3D Movie Maker community that could convert 3mm files to a file type more commonly used for videos. He then put the episode on a DVD so that it could be shown at Nick Phillips's birthday party on October 22, 2005. During the months after this showing, the Bongomon fanbase at Fordham Prep began to clamor for Bongomon to be picked up into a series.
Ted Phillips found better conversion software that did not distort text boxes or cut off part of the screen. Nick Phillips still wanted to fix some errors in making this episode, including the aforementioned sound effect errors, a few lines that had been omitted, and the fact that Bash mom's face was shown during her monologue at the door. He also rerecorded a few of Professor Bongo's lines to make his voice sound more like the 2000 version. This editing process was completed on January 2, 2009, and the episode was published online above on January 3, 2009.
Differences between the 2000 and 2005 versions
Since the episode was remade from scratch and from memory, there were inevitable differences in camera angles.
The original and the remake differ slightly in the voice cast. In the remake, Nick Phillips performed most of the voices.
The remake makes some use of music from the Pokémon games, while the original only used music preloaded in 3D Movie Maker.
In the remake, Nick Phillips found it more difficult to speak in Nakita's voice.
In the original, when Bash got out of his mom's car, it was much more obvious that he did not actually open the car door.
In the original, subtitles were white. In the remake, they are yellow and in Comic Sans MS font.
In the original, after saying, "Can I have a beer?" Bash added, "Come on, gimme a beer."
In the original, the food on Bash's shirt was represented by a squashed brown sphere, while in the remake it is represented by the changing of his shirt to a brown one.
In the remake, the Bongomon Trainers exchange words of challenge before starting their battle. In the original, the scene started with "Bongo, tackle."
In the original, when Bongo was sent flying out of the battle, he took an excruciating amount of time to fly toward the skyline in the background, whereas in the remake, Bongo simply flies upward and offscreen.
In the original, during Bongo's evolution sequence, his shape was alternately stretched and squashed to show his change in size, while in the remake, he simply grows.
In the original, when Bash bought the milk, you could see it moving towards Bash on the counter, while in the remake, it is already in front of Bash at rest.
In the original, the Moo-Moo Milk logo was yellow, while in the remake it is white.
In the original, the milk on the ground was tilted, while in the remake it remains vertical.
In the original, Crock's monologue was contained as a paragraph in a single text box. In the remake, each subtitle is one line long.
In the original version, Ted Phillips confused the words Pokémon and Biomon with Bongomon as well as active (a term from the Pokémon TCG) with starter when recording Crock's lines. In the original episode, the lines were, "Send out your ac—your starter bi—Bongomon" and "Send out your pok—Bongomon."
The timer in the original had a black background, while in the remake it was transparent. This was because when Ted and Nick Phillips made the original, they did not know how to safely remove text boxes, so they could only cover the ones they had already placed during that scene.
In the original, Ted and Nick Phillips decreased the time remaining on the timer by one second every 5.5 frames. In the remake, the time decreased by one second every 5 frames.
The original also contained a break after the three-car accident containing commercials for Skelly and for The Adventures of Bongo and Nakita.
In the original, when Bash returned to his locked house, he said, "Oh, dang, it's locked!" In the remake, his expletive was censored.
In the original, after the police car exploded, Bash safely landed on top of the balloon. In the remake, he loses his balance, falls off, and safely lands on the ground.
In the original, there was no timer when Bash returned to the gym. In the remake, there is a timer with 5 seconds remaining.
In the original, when Crock leapt off the balcony in the final scene, he landed on his feet. In the remake, Crock falls on his stomach and gets up off the ground.
The original had credits at the end. The remake did not because at that point the episode needed to be shown to the audience.
Notes and Trivia
The names Bongo, Nakita, and Frank are the same names used by Microsoft 3D Movie Maker.
When making the original episode, Ted originally wanted to have a second timer appear on the right side of the screen when Frank demands payment in fifteen minutes. They decided against it because it would be too tedious to make two timers.
For years, Joseph Justus thought that Frank said, "Want the milk in a cartridge or a cup?" instead of "Want the milk in a carton or a cup?"
The balloon that Bash lands on during the explosion supposedly belongs to Beam Socket (the equivalent of Pokémon's Team Rocket).
At the end of the credits in the original, there was an announcement that "Crock, the Hot Fighter" would be the next episode.
Professor Bongo: Anyone who wants to be a Bongomon trainer has to catch all 763 Bongomon.
Bash: Hey, Frank. Thanks for letting me drink alcohol all my life. Can I have a beer?
Larry: Hey, Bash, I'm your rival. You're gonna lose! Loser! I wouldn't want it any other way, Bash!
Bash: Hey, a steak. Thanks, Mom!
Bongodex: Largris. The large Bongomon. It is very large.
Clare: I want chocolate milk!
Sign: Bongomon League — Collect all 25 badges kid — yeah dude cule
Crock: It is a required one of the twenty-five badges, the only twenty-five badges. Well, there are more than one of each, but only one per trainer.
Frank: All right, but you have fifteen minutes to pay me.
Frank: All right, you wait here. I'll be back with the milk in a bit.
Frank: Want the milk in a carton or a cup?
Cultural References and Inside Jokes
The entire show Bongomon is a parody of Pokémon. Professor Bongo is based on Professor Oak, Bash Smashum on Ash Ketchum, Larry on Gary, Crock on Brock, Bongoball on Pokéball, and Bongodex on Pokédex. The league system of gym leaders and badges, as well as the ability to evolve, is also directly taken from Pokémon.
Professor Bongo's house is reminiscent of Professor Oak's lake hideout in Pokémon Snap.
The car saleswoman, Nakita, is a character from the show The Adventures of Bongo and Nakita, made by Nick Phillips using Microsoft 3D Movie Maker. In that show, she also sells cars door-to-door and sings the song "Cars for Sale" in the annoying high-pitched voice.
Professor Bongo's "Oh, no!" as he runs away from Nakita is a reference to a line in the movie Good Burger in which Ed says "Oh, no!" in response to Roxanne's attempts at seducing him and flips her over a car.
Frank, although his voice was different, had the same role in the movie Skelly, made by Ted Phillips with Microsoft 3D Movie Maker.
Larry's taunt is based on a misinterpretation by Ted Phillips of an exchange between Ash and Richie on the last page of the English version of Toshihiro Ono's Electric Pikachu Boogaloo part 3.
Bash's line "Hey, a steak. Thanks, Mom!" is a reference to a line said by the character Andy in the movie Toy Story 2: "Hey, new toys. Thanks, Mom!"
The chocolate milk-loving Clare, who is never onscreen, is a caricature of Clare Phillips, who provides the voice for the character.
The milk is labeled "Moo Moo Milk." This is anachronistic to the Moo-Moo Milk that later appeared in the second generation Pokémon games.
Crock's statement, "A gym battle is much tougher than a trainer battle—and the rules are much different" bears a striking resemblance to what Brock says before the battle in the Pokémon episode "Showdown in Pewter City": "A gym match is different from other battles. [...] There are special rules." The scene is also similar in that both Ash and Bash walk into a seemingly empty gym and yell loudly. The gym leader appears suddenly and jumps down from a high location to start the battle.
Bash's mom says "And no Pokémanning on the way!" This is a reference to how many adults, specifically John Phillips, mispronounce Pokémon as "Pokéman."
Frank's slowness bares a striking similarity to Msgr. Gillen, but this is merely a coincidence.
Bash climbs up the side of his house in a manner resembling Spider-Man.
Crock's line "I about gave up on you" is copied from the line spoken by the character Nick in the movie Last Action Hero when Danny arrives at the theater after sneaking out of his house.
Seismic Toss is a move from Pokémon.
Created, Written, and Directed by Ted & Nick Phillips
Edited by Ted and Nick Phillips (original) / Nick Phillips (remake)
Based on Pokémon, a trademark of Nintendo, Creatures, and GameFreak
Animation by Microsoft 3D Movie Maker