Although The Hills may have helped you survive, it's been a long, Laguna Beach-less summer. Now MTV has returned to the real O.C. (without the real LC, Lauren Conrad) for a third season, and there's a whole new crop of affluent teens to get to know.
The show is still about sketchy dudes, random text messages, hookups and a little dating, a lot of unsupervised partying, and even a Season 2 holdover in the won't-go-away, Screech Powers-esque Jessica Smith. But much has changed, according to Entertainment Weekly.
The guys are much better looking, the girls appear to be more diverse, there appear to be three cliques instead of two, and the aplha character this season, Tessa, does not have the last name Conrad (although LC's sis Breanna is a cast member). Let's get to know the new cast and see how they stack up with our old favorites.
TESSA: She's this season's LC, the nice girl who's going to get mixed up in a lot of not nice things. Becoming best friends with Breanna's former BFF, Rocky, makes for tension between Tessa (right) and the younger Conrad. But the real drama will come when her clique clashes with the mean, sassy popular-girl posse led by Kyndra.
CHASE: Tessa's best guy friend bears a facial-hair resemblance to veteran Jason Wahler, but -- fortunately -- he has little else in common with the former Laguna Beach bad boy. Chase's artistic pursuits (he's frontman of a band called Open Air Stereo) recall Season 1's go-to creative man, Trey, but it looks like his chances of making out with a Laguna leading lady are a lot stronger than Trey.
ROCKY: Rocky (whose real name is Raquel) is filling the best-friend role, like Lo in the first two seasons. She recently shifted allegiance from Breanna to Tessa. Rocky looks like a young Drew Barrymore, has an adorable snaggle tooth like Project Runway's Alison, and dates a hot guy from another school. But for some unspecified reason, she's hated by the Laguna Beach popular crowd.
CAMERON: A meathead heartthrob, Cameron is splitting his beefy affections between two jealous ladies, much like two-timers Stephen and Jason. Despite his hilarious Jason-bashing in Season 3's premiere, Cameron could turn out to be a lot like him. It's extremely doubtful, however, Cameron will prove to be as likable as Stephen.
KYNDRA: Kyndra (left) is the new Kristin Cavallari. She's blond and tough and has a really high credit limit. The home-schooled diva is the leader of this year's trio of trendy girls, the Bratz Pack, if you will. She's got her eye on Cameron, but it's unlikely that he'll be her only target this season, particularly once it's time for spring-break trips.
CAMI: Cami's ready to show Rocky and everyone else in Laguna the difference between queen bees and wannabes. The gossip maven's acid wit makes her more like a sharper Lisa Turtle than anyone from past Laguna Beach casts. As Kyndra's best friend, she should be the new Alex H. (that's the blond one), but Cami's bigger than that.
KELAN: Kelan is this season's jokey sidekick guy. He's got a touch of Trey, because he's able to move among cliques pretty easily -- he's Cameron's wingman and Chase's bandmate. There's something Dieter-ish about his sidekickdom and Talan-ish about how he's not the ladies' first choice, but Kelan has a lot more personality than either of those two.
BREANNA: Breanna isn't LC, although, like her sister, deep down she really wants to be popular. Unfortunately, she has a longer way to go than Lauren did. Breanna is still trying to find her clique, and the previews suggest she might do something mean just to gain acceptance. She is jealous of Tessa's friendship with her former friend Rocky and, perhaps as a result, tends to chase after Tessa's former beaus. Thus she most resembles Alex M., who pursued Jason in Season 2 while he was still dating Jessica.
LEXIE: Lexie (right) spends most of her time training to be a dancer, so her nearest equivalent is probably the equally dedicated would-be Broadway singer Christina. But Lexie is otherwise nothing like the conservative preacher's daughter. She is a demanding, waifish hair toucher who hates Rocky and Tessa. But according to the previews, she will find some time between being hardworking and snobby to have at least one hookup this season.
There you have it. Tune in next Wednesday for an all new episode, and all the drama therein.