What do you think of "pity" badges?

Personally, I like them. They're refreshing for the plot. Without them, Kanto would have amounted to just gym battle after gym battle (and we never would have gotten that awesome Sabrina arc!). Just because he didn't get them traditionally doesn't mean he didn't earn them. He rescued Erika's Gloom, made Sabrina laugh (Psychic types were OP, so Ash couldn't possibly beat her plausibly), saved Cerulean Gym from TR, and impressed Brock with his action of putting his Pokemon's health before a victory; the least they could do is reward him, right? He did prove himself, after all.

So yeah, they're pretty underrated, and we need more Gym arcs like that.