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'Real Housewives of O.C.' recap: The girls return

Oh God, Gretchen’s laugh is back. Why did I never realize how much she sounds like the pregnant Playmate before? But she wasn’t just laughing on last night’s season premiere. There were some tears as well, as she described her cycles of grief since her beloved fiance Jeff’s death six months ago. Clutching her exercise ball for comfort, counseling her mini-dogs through their own pain, she was a lost and broken woman. Garage sale, woot! And then there was Slade, sitting smugly atop the motorcycle Jeff gave her last season. “I truly think Jeff brought me Slade,” said Gretchen. This despite the fact that she’d earlier said that she’d met Slade, who well knows his way around the augmented O.C. population, eight years ago.

In other news: Simon and Tamra are possibly going broke. Lynne and whatever her husband’s name is are definitely going broke. Jeana is just broke broke. Vicki is still sitting on a pound of dough. Donn even bought her a pretty ring, which Vicki likes because it’s six carats. The two seem to have regained their marital footing which makes me genuinely happy. Donn has always struck me as a good egg. I dare say Vicki is my favorite Housewife, despite her ogre-like bossiness and constant smothering.

At the staged dinner party—under the guise of showcasing Lynne’s burgeoning cuff line—Tamra and Gretchen didn’t make it through the salad course before lacing into each other. This one’s a whore, that one’s a hooker. Jeana, the only Housewife who hadn’t yet gotten the memo that candy-colored ruched dresses were so O.C. season 2,  just wanted to eat y’all. As the blondes hurled mud across the table, she was sneaking her fork onto Gretchen’s plate. “Um, if you’re not going to eat your macaroni…”

I’d say the line of the evening went to Tamra when she was discussing some of Gretchen’s dopey pictures on the Internet: “Holy mother of gynecology, who has a vibrator with a chord?!” The only problem though is I’m guessing she’d been work-shopping that line all hiatus.

In scenes from the upcoming season Slade shows up more than I would like. (And by that I mean he shows up at all.) In one shot he calls the other ladies “jealous beeotches” (people still use that word?) while desperately sucking in his spray-tanned, shirtless stomach. That man is a walking Valtrex ad.

And for those who prefer to keep their Housewives intake to an hour a day, let me quickly recap the second hour of the Atlanta reunion for you: Dwight spread the message of penile implant acceptance, Lisa bragged about being friends with Tyler Perry, Kim rolled her eyes a few more times at Andy. Oh, and then this happened.

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I love Andy Cohen’s expression around 2:00. He hates her so much.

Originally posted November 6 2009 — 9:49 AM EST

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