The first season of TLC's "Extreme Couponing" show provoked an enormous amount of water cooler discussion this spring, garnering everything from mild interest to vitriolic haters.
The show focused on heavy coupon users who are practiced in the art of gathering free or nearly free products from grocery stores. In many cases, the showcased shoppers would pay under $10 for hundreds of dollars of products.
Often, the show was followed up by an episode of the TLC original documentary series "Hoarders," a juxtaposition that was not lost on many viewers.
In one episode, a shopper proudly displayed his 1,000 tubes of toothpaste. In another episode, a pair of twin sisters stockpiled truckloads of diapers, but there was no baby in the house. One mom's stash began creeping into her children's bedrooms. Other shoppers were portrayed in a more favorable light, donating much of their stockpile to charity.
But the show also was criticized for its unrealistic portrayal of coupon use. And bargain bloggers around the Internet began to disavow the series as harmful to the average shopper.
But the ratings, apparently, did not suffer. The series is coming back for a second season, and casting directors are actively looking for coupon clippers to showcase.
If you are a serious coupon user that hopes to bring back the hobby's good name, email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for an application. This is the casting description from the show: "If you have the expertise to get amazing deals and accumulate fantastic stockpiles of goodies, we'd love to hear from you!"
An insider's note: A casting director reached out to me specifically about some of the shoppers I have written about here in Hampton Roads. Stay tuned, we may see one of our own on the series.