The Goop Lab is a six-episode infomercial designed to peddle odd scientific theories wrapped up in a facade of bettering women’s health and empowerment. While Goop certainly has it’s own reputation for outrageous products and unique scented candles; this brief peek behind the curtain was certainly revealing. No matter how many times they cued up the slow music while Paltrow and crew sat in a circle discussing some odd take on science, it was hard to shake the predatory vibe The Goop Lab had. This show was never about the physical and mental health of women; it was about mainstreaming these techniques and products as a cure for any of the insecurities women have.
The series is broken down into six individual episodes each dealing with a far fetched brand of science meant to better women’s (and I guess some men’s) lives. The first episode dealt with the medicinal uses of mushrooms, and it was by far the most annoying. Of the 30 minutes in episode one, 4-6 minutes was about the idea of how this fungus will get people to be open, and the rest of the show was a bunch of yuppies in Jamaica lamenting about tripping and crying about their “first world” problems. Episode 2 addresses overcoming anxiety by jumping into freezing bodies of water and breathing correctly through it. It seems the idea here is, “Hey, if you make through this stupid idea … all will be fine.”
Then, of course, there’s episode 3, which deals with women getting in touch with themselves (literally). The idea is that getting a closer look at your lady parts will erode your shame and lead to a healthier outlook. I’m not sure how sitting around naked staring at one another while someone looks at a mirror image of their business is helpful at all. The fourth, fifth, and sixth episodes span the spectrum from energy workers (fixing our energies) to diet and face regiments, and with psychic powers.
The fourth episode is likely the one most people will be talking about. In the episode entitled “Health Span,” The Goop Lab team seeks to improve their health by trying out different diets and undergoing various facial procedures. For half an hour they attempt to shine a light on cleanses and facial procedures (like vampire facials and stringing their cheeks). A Vampire Facial is when the doctor takes a certain amount of blood out of your body, spins the plasma out, and then massages the plasma in your face. It gives you this strawberry glow. Stringing the cheek is when a surgeon takes what looks like a fishing line and inserts it into your cheek, slightly pulling back your face. The woman who did this ended looking like The Joker from Batman.
All of these odd scientific “facts,” crash diets, and medical procedures are shown in a way that aims to be appealing to women. Is this the message we want to project towards others? On top of all this, The Goop Lab is structured in a way that’s so dull and odd that it’s a chore to even get through the show. There are certainly better options than this.