"It remains to be seen how the filler situation in Shippuuden will continue. I can, however, say with some confidence that if the crappy "comedy" episodes stick around, then any vague good that the earlier plot-relevant filler arcs did, will soon be overshadowed by the poor quality fluff currently halting the main narrative's progression."
Sadly, the above seems to have come to pass as following an all too short run of actual plot (a meager 25 episodes, of which several contained flashbacks of previous content), we were thrown back into more mundane fluff. This time, instead of recalling memories of the past, the premise for each standalone story in the twenty episode run is Naruto encountering someone or something during his painfully long sea voyage to the Lightning Country. Initially, it's bearable. OK, catching a giant swordfish is a brainless distraction but whatever, it's only one episode. Unfortunately, the "only one episode" delusion doesn't last for long, and soon you want the torture to end - JUST GET OFF THE GODDAMN BOAT ALREADY! It's Frodo shitting in the woods all over again.
Even the "comedy" elements lose their charm rapidly; there are only so many times you can see the "Oh Gai is seasick, how HI-LAAAAAR-IOUS!" gag before you wish they'd just give up and toss him overboard to see how he fares with the sharks.
I'm somewhat behind with the anime and still attempting to trudge my way through the inane drivel that's currently gracing my screen, and with each twenty-four minutes of my life that ebbs away watching Naruto get poisoned by mushrooms, fight his own clones, or get into a battle over marriage, I feel less and less inclined to start the next installment. Frankly, the only thing keeping me going is the eventual promise of plot, and GOOD plot at that. It's a genuine shame that the fluff has descended to this level, when it was at least tolerable before - since it's now making me dread the next time that the story takes a break and I'm wedged back into this crap-padded cell known as filler. For now, I'll just have to soldier on and hold onto the tiny ray of light that is a semi-humourous moment that raises a smile and doesn't involve Gai vomiting over the side of the ship or practically dry-humping solid ground every time they dock for supplies.