I'm noticing a lack of other characters though with this format; not nearly enough Maeby or George Michael so far, and we've only just started seeing GOB.
I'm hoping that this was just the PTB's way of getting us caught up to what happened over the past six years and that the next season will be a bit more inclusive. This new format reminds me way too much of the split narrative that "Glee" has been doing by having the show set in two different locations that did neither side any favors.
The first episode (aside from the tedious voting gag) is considerably more funny with a second re-watch. But as others have mentioned it should have been able to stand up better on its own merits. But considering this was shot over six months and trying to work around all nine actors' schedules, it could have been a hell of a lot worse.
As for the new season, Gob, Buster and Maeby really carried it for me, from Gob's bromance--ish--thing with Tony Wonder to Buster becoming a "Motherman"
to Maeby's ironic fate at the end of her episode.