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The Real Housewives of Orange County, Season 3

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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HOME ON THE RANGE ROVER Housewives

If the Hollywood writers' strike leaves TV-watchers with nothing but hours of script-starved filler, thank whatever silly little deity you worship for reality shows like Bravo's The Real Housewives of Orange County. It may single-handedly save us all.

The season three premiere promises that the lives of these five fake-racked anti-heroines in Coto, California, will be as captivating as ever. Tammy's ex-husband Lou has died suddenly, and without a will, leaving her blonde daughters to fend for themselves while Lou's evil Thai mail-order bride gets all the cash. Joe the cougar has been replaced with an equally grating gal named Tamra, who's quick to declare herself "the hottest housewife." Vicki continues to have cringe-inducing mother-child interactions in her quest to prevent her children from leading healthy, independent lives, and Lauri is still striking it rich with fiancé George—as long as she doesn't have to think about whether her son from a previous marriage will end up back in juvie.

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Still unimpressed? There's a talk of a possible mother-daughter Playboy shoot for Jeana and recent high school grad Kara! Hef, you'll always be relevant in our hearts.

The show is oddly compelling and wildly entertaining, and it feels less deliberate and produced than those other SoCal reality dramas (how you disappoint, Hills!). Season three has all the makings of something very exciting ... and very disturbing. It's also a perfect tutorial for those who wonder just how rich, crazy Cali kids can grow into such debilitatingly stupid and vapid adults.

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