Was that a commentary of sorts or are you asking for help?
[...] but then I guess that's just how wordpress is.
Since I've seen thousands of WP blogs with all sorts of different themes, I'm a bit confused by what you're trying to say.
I have lots of ideas. But I guess that's how I am... want to hear 'em?
Where you getting these themes from? Are they reasonably recent and known to work with WP 1.5 or newer? (http://themes.wordpress.net is a great resource).
Are you unzipping them on your computer and then uploading the folder to your host? The themes must go under
/wp-content/themes/themeName and each theme must be in its own folder.
Make sure when you unzip the theme you don't have an extra layer of folders. Then you end up with
/wp-admin/themes/themeName/themeName which is no good.