On Friday, January 24, Netflix premiered a new six-episode original series called “The Goop Lab with Gwenyth Paltrow.” The series revolves around actress and businesswoman Gwenyth Paltrow’s modern lifestyle and wellness brand called “Goop.” Each half-hour long episode looks into different alternative ideas regarding health and wellness. In the trailer for the series, it is emphasized that “what we try to do at Goop is to explore ideas that may seem out there or too scary.” In explaining what the company and series’ purpose was, Paltrow herself wanted to really push her view in both the trailer and the intro to each episode by saying that “we’re here one time, one life…to me, it’s all laddering up to one thing, which is optimization of self. Like, we’re here one time, one life. How can we really, like, milk the shit out of this?”
The Goop Lab consisted of contributing editors, researchers, and overall employees of Goop, “Goopers,” that would volunteer to go on excursions to “test” the waters of the topic they were looking into at that time. Paltrow explains in the introduction that “The opportunity that we have with the Goop lab is that, as a company, we can go out in different groups and go on a much deeper dive into some of these topics that our readers are curious about…We get to explore, like, is this real? Do we feel better? And grapple with some topics that are hard and embarrassing or shameful.”
The topics that were discussed in a general sense tended to be rejected by mainstream western culture, so the Goopers were caught by the cameras saying things like, “This is dangerous,” “It’s unregulated,” “Just another day at the office,” and “Should I be scared?” For example, in the first episode, members of the Goop Lab traveled to Jamaica to take magic mushrooms under the special care of psychotherapists who specialized in the research and development of therapy under the use of psychedelics. Each of the Goopers who went had interesting individual experiences, to say the least. The next five episodes were on Wim Hof’s breathing and cold exposure techniques, female pleasure and orgasm, biological age and diet, energy healing and psychic mediums.
Earlier this year, after the show and trailer were announced and released, Netflix received multiple forms of controversial backlash for not only promoting and advertising Goop as a company through the show but they were also criticized for promoting ideas of health and wellness that some viewers may actually use as serious medical advice. This led to several disclaimers in the show stating that the series is “designed to entertain and inform– not to provide medical advice.”
Besides debate and dispute, if you are someone who is interested in alternative medicine or health and wellness in general, it is definitely something genuinely impressive and enjoyable to watch on Netflix for entertainment. It seems to differ from most of the series that are normally put out by Netflix. As open and progressive to new ideas as the campus community of St. Mary’s College of Maryland is, for the average student this might be a good next post-study-session binge-watch.