December 06, 2004 12:00 PM


CBS (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET)

It’s never the destination; it’s always the journey,” high school science teacher Avi opined in the mid-November premiere of the sixth Amazing Race. A wise observation, even if Avi and his old buddy Joe were the first team to be eliminated. I don’t much care which duo ultimately comes in first and collects the $1 million prize, and the personality conflicts aren’t dramatically different from those on other reality shows. But at least this series covers a lot-of interesting ground.

In the opener, the 11 teams assembled by Chicago’s beautiful Buckingham Fountain and learned they must hie themselves to the airport and catch a flight to Iceland. There they set out in cars and searched the striking landscape for a particular waterfall. Later they rode across a glacier in snowmobiles and camped out on the ice. “God, look at this, love,” Don said to his wife, Mary Jean, as the two grand-parents took a moment to admire their surroundings. I like a man who uses his eyes.

What I don’t like is watching couples yell at each other, but that’s an inevitable part of the race. Bickering Adam and Rebecca, billed as “Formerly Dating,” show why their romantic relationship should stay in the past tense. “I’m never gonna talk to you for the rest of my life,” he says, as if that were a threat rather than a favor. Jonathan, an entrepreneur who modestly describes himself as a “mental magician,” harangues wife Victoria without mercy and whoops obnoxiously when their team is faring well. Married pro wrestlers Lori and Bolo have vicious verbal battles and occasionally go at it physically. The Amazing Race won its second Emmy this year as best reality competition series, but if host Phil Keoghan starts bellowing “Are you ready to rummmble?” it’ll cost the show some prestige.

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