In the realm of reality television, there's just no escaping the junk.
This series is usually more entertaining than most of the genre, so I was disappointed to note that the fifth-season contestants include Alison, the runner-up on another CBS reality show, last summer's Big Brother 4. Her Amazing Race teammate is on-and-off boyfriend Donny, who caught her Brother act and didn't like the way she behaved. Now they have an opportunity to work out their differences—i.e., bicker, bicker, bicker—while tearing around the world in pursuit of a $1 million prize. Among the contestants they'll have to overcome: Colin and Christie (the 1996 Miss Teen USA), who profess to be measuring their marriage potential while running after the dough, and Dennis and Erika, former fiancés who may yet have a future together. On the 90-minute season premiere, Erika says teaming up on The Amazing Race will be "our ultimate love test." That's not possible, kids: The Ultimate Love Test is on ABC.
Luckily, the rest of the field contains some duos worth following and even rooting for. Mirna and cousin Charla, a dwarf, have an inspiring way of sharing the load—particularly when the challenge is lugging a 55-lb. side of beef through the streets of Maldonado, Uruguay. Bob and Joyce, both widowed, seem to have a warm, supportive relationship. They're so sane it's almost unreal.