Now there were actually 2 problems with the install. You see, it would hang while the status window read "Setting File Security" and it stayed there for what seemed like forever. This was happening because the remote machine was connected to a network which was monumentally large (it's a pretty large organization) and the install was trying to find all the nodes in the network. There's a patch for this type of problem that can be used with the installation, but if this is the only problem, the user can also just wait it out. Which is what I chose to do. And then the real problem showed up.
After 2-3 hours of waiting (I had other work to do..honest) the installation finally "completed" by giving me an error message saying something like the developer tools were already installed. So basically, all of the SQL Server components installed correctly, except for management studio...which is the one I needed!
After scouring the internet for days and trying every patch fix and forum tip I could find, I finally found a solution. But it was dangerous. I had actually found it earlier on, but hesitated at trying it, as it required me to edit the registry, which I've never done before, and I'm sure could royally screw up my new remote machine. But at this point I had no choice, as even my coworkers had no idea what was going on.
So I followed directions in the article, and it turns out that on my remote machine (which had been used previously, probably by another programmer) there was a previous install of SQL Server 2005 Express Tools that didn't show up in add/remove programs in the control panel! It must've been un-installed un-properly. Long story short, I followed the articles instructions and removed all the SQL Server entries in the database, including that one for the Express Tools. Then I ran the installation one more time (again, I just let it go for 2 hours to alleviate the first issue) and lo-and-behold, SQL Server was finally installed on my cpu. Here's the article that made it all worth while:
and here's the article on my page, in case it ever gets moved: