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'Extreme Couponing': Still fascinating? Or annoying?

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Extreme Couponing

After last week’s premiere episode of Extreme Couponing, I was a little doubtful that the novelty would last. How much couponing can a person watch without getting bored or annoyed? Well, two episodes in, I’m not there yet. My obsession continues … for now.

What helped last night’s episode feel fresh was returning couponer Nathan, who set out on a charitable grocery outing to hopefully put to rest complaints that the hoarder-esque behavior displayed by some couponers is selfish — or some other adjective that means that extreme couponers are terrible people. (I reject this criticism probably because if I didn’t live in a 300-square-foot studio apartment, I’d have a stockpile, too. I’m also sort of nuts.) The goal of his trip was to purchase the products he’d need to complete 1000 care packages for soldiers overseas. And he did it for under $50.

Nathan’s noble cause helped dial down the crazy and gave a reason to root for him at the register. Toward the end of last week’s double-dose of Couponing I found myself hoping one of the couponers would fail in their quest for 99.999999 percent savings, because I was growing tired of their terrible attitudes. The last straw was when one woman claimed she loved her stockpile “almost as much as my family.” Last night, I nearly turned against the “double-saving divas” (twin sisters from Chicago), too, particularly when one of the twins talked about her stockpile of diapers … for children she doesn’t have. Oy. Luckily, they weren’t hateful, and their two half-full carts of products didn’t seem too terribly over the top. Also, they were a pretty clever pair. In fact, my friend, whose birthday is coming up, excitedly declared she was going to attempt a savings-heavy outing on her birthday, just like the twins. She’s being sucked in …

I’m straddling a line here, PopWatchers. I want to like Couponing because it’s a fresh idea for a reality show that makes sense in this economy, and I’m totally fascinated. But just like every time I get drawn into a Real Housewives marathon, I can’t decide if I’m watching because it’s so good or watching because it’s so bad.

Thoughts? And if you’re still watching, how should they keep the show fresh and interesting?

Also, VOTE on this important matter: How do you pronounce “coupon”? “Coo”-pon or  “cue”-pon?

Read more:

‘Extreme Couponing’ is back! How low will the total go?

‘Extreme Couponing’ review: Weird, selfish people, or thrifty smarties?

‘Extreme Couponing’: The best friends in the world