Oh yea, the first half of it is of questionable quality for sure. It seems like Key anime always has the first part to be the weakest. It does get better in the 2nd half, kinda, but everyone's hyped over the core of the story in season 2. But yea, it is quite a pain to get started.
I have decided to no longer engage in debate in that subforum as I felt there is nothing for me or anyone else to gain through further posting, but before I do I would like to commend you on being one of the more reasonable posters on the Nanoboards.