(or, "Are they still on Namek?")
Okay, I'm convinced that this new season is a psychological experiment being perpetrated on all casual and hardcore fans of Haruhi. Basically, to see how long you can keep looping the same freakin' story over and over again to the point where people stop watching.
Sure, the first episode was good, classic Haruhi: A dash of ADD-related humor combined with nonsensical storytelling to lure both new and old fans into the series. In scientific terms, episode one acted as the "control" of the experiment. But then eps 2-5 are where the independent variables come into play, the part where the same episode is repeated with cosmetic changes here and there as part of an evil plot to discover how far they can stretch their fanbase until they snap (considering that some hardcore fans actually rented out hotel rooms in Saitama just to be the very first people to see the new season, I'd say pretty far). I told this to a couple friends who also watched the series, and one of them countered that the animation for each episode is different.
Skimming through each episode again, I tentatively agreed with him on that point. However, I said it didn't really matter to me so much as the fact that they basically repeated the same storyline over and over. It's kinda like the drunk guy at a party who tells a joke that he thinks is hilarious. You chuckle along with him at first, but then he thinks that if he says the same joke louder then he'll get more laughs, so he keeps raising his voice and telling the same joke over and over until you just want to dump what's left of your beer on his head and walk away.
Maybe the show will actually switch to a different plotline next episode, but I am not going to play along with their little experiment. I am not going to watch another episode of this series for the near future. The writers of this show shouldn't be allowed to get away with repeating the same story with only a few changes several times in a row. If I wanted that I'd watch Inuyasha, and at least then the characters might be different during the repeated plotlines.