Invitations, or lack thereof, seem to be the driving theme of the new season of ‘Laguna Beach.’ First it was Kyndra’s sketched-out text message invite to Tessa, then it was Tessa’s ornate surprise birthday bash, and now Raquel’s careless holiday snubbing of the coven of Cami and Kyndra. Well, the brave coven of bitches braved the second biggest ice storm in Laguna Beach (season two’s reunion-ridden Christmas party season opener was clearly much icier) and out-bitched everyone.

Rocky’s friend/cousin/friend-of-a-friend Stephanie called Cami “dirty” at some (offscreen) point in the chilly party and the LB-ers taught the first valuable lesson of the season: never tell Cami to not say anything. Cami goaded a defensive Kyndra to confront the unsuspecting Stephanie and all hell broke loose. A (less) defensive Rocky snapped back and spoke to Kyndra for the very first time. (Apparently the two had never spoken before but had still managed to develop a mutual loathing.)

Cameron was the bitch of Kyndra’s counterpart party, where he stormed out at the mere mention of Jessica. Their subsequent date, however, provided a surprisingly meaty manifestation of Laguna-existentialism. Jessica: “What would you do if I died?” Cameron: “I’d probably go and call Kyndra.” Wow. There really is more to the grade-skipping Jessica we all love and know.

The invitation/party theme is a bit overdone (rewind to season one’s opening black-and-white formal, the party that started them all), but parties seem to be the best place for producers to contrive otherwise unrealistic encounters between rival cliques.

The increased parental presence in the new season is indulgingly fresh. I love Jessica’s mirror-of-a-mom and Kyndra’s perpetually lurking mom. (How about a parent subplot!) What was happening with Tessa and Raquel’s parents - especially her dad who looks like he came straight out of a ‘My Name Is Earl’ episode? Now I think there’s the next Stephen and LC right there: Is “watching ‘Cinderella Man’” code for something else? Oh, and, is it just me or is Cami’s impression of Rocky so amazingly accurate that it makes everything coming out of Roq-well’s mouth seem incomprehensible? All I hear is meeh meeh meeh meeh meeh. Bleh. Cami’s brilliance is making this season for me, but the most ponderous question still remains unanswered: Where is Kristin?

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