tv

Behind the jade eggs and $300 face creams, Gwyneth Paltrow is selling a pretty simple message.

There was a certain feeling in the air in the last few weeks of 1999.

It was the end of the millennium and for months – if not years – we had been hearing about the impending doom of Y2K.

Headlines splashed across every major newspaper told us when the clock struck midnight on January 31, a problem with the coding in computerised systems would wreak havoc around the world.

Computers would shut down, banks would crash, cash registers wouldn’t be able to operate.

Watch the trailer for Netflix’s The Goop Lab. Post continues after video.

At 11.59pm people across the globe stood around – holding their half-drunk glasses of cheap sparkling wine, singing Auld Lang Syne off tune – and waited for their giant grey home PC to cark it.

Then… nothing.

Midnight came and went and the world as we know it didn’t end.

The same thing has happened – to a lesser extent – over the last month as the world prepared for Gwyneth Paltrow’s docu-series, The Goop Lab, to drop on Netflix.

When Netflix released the trailer for the six-part series in early January, people were quick to panic. “It’s pseudo-science,” they yelled, “She’s selling snake oil”, “She will single-handedly ruin our society with her vagina-scented candles”. Many remembered the great jade egg scandal of 2018 and suddenly everyone was deeply concerned for the health and safety of women’s vaginas.

Then the series dropped on Netflix and it was a bit of an anti-climax.

There were a few think pieces here and there, if you held your ear nice and close to Twitter you could still hear someone softly muttering “snake oil… jade eggs… dangerous to women”, but mostly people had nothing to say.

Why? Because Gwyneth Paltrow just isn’t that scary anymore.

The thing is, Gwyneth’s message is actually quite simple – eat better, exercise more and get enough sleep. And if you feel like splurging on a vampire facial or working through your past traumas while tripping on magic mushrooms, that’s OK too.

Gwyneth is surprisingly self-aware throughout the series, reflecting on her own transition from “kissing Matt Damon on screen” to becoming a controversial, headline-dominating lifestyle guru.

A disclaimer at the beginning of each episode even admits that The Goop Lab – and to an extent Goop itself – is meant to entertain, not be taken as fact.

ADVERTISEMENT

Five of the six episodes of the series explore topics that most mere mortals will never go out and explore for themselves. And one of the episodes is downright life-changing.

If you stand back and look past the obvious privilege and the woo woo, there’s something you can take from every single episode. In episode one, a few Goopers travel to Jamaica, take some magic mushrooms and lie around on yoga mats working through their childhood trauma. The lesson? Sometimes things from your past hold you back and you need to work on them to move forward.

In episode 2, Wim Hof aka the ‘Ice Man’, a Dutch athlete renowned for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures, takes a bunch of Goopers to Lake Tahoe in the middle of winter to teach them his controlled breathing and cold-therapy method. Over a period of a few days, they learn to really breathe and then they jump into the freezing cold lake. They leave bonded and feeling like they’ve conquered the impossible. The lesson? Humans are capable of great things when they put their minds to it. Also… have a cold shower every now and then. It’s rather refreshing.

Is Gwyneth actually problematic? Post continues after podcast.

In episode 3, we watch a woman masturbate and orgasm on screen. The lesson? Woman deserve to be in control of their own sexual desire and pleasure. Sex isn’t anything like what we see in porn. Also, look at your vulva in a mirror, it’s… fascinating.

In episode 4, Gwyneth and two of her staffers are told their ‘biological age’ and then are given the task of trying to reduce that age through a series of lifestyle changes. Gwyneth eats a powdered diet and gets a vampire facial. Another staffer tries a vegan diet. Someone gets their face threaded. Gwyneth says she really wants a burger. At the end of the episode, they’ve all reduced their biological age a fraction and will maybe make a few little changes to their lifestyle moving forward. The lesson? Eating better and exercising more keeps you younger and prolongs your life a bit.

Episode 5 is a touch more woo woo. In it, John Amaral, a somatic energy practitioner, moves the energy around Gwyneth’s body to “heal things”. It kind of looks like a more tame version of The Exorcist. The lesson? Humans are made up of energy – both good and bad.

The series concludes with an episode on intuition. The episode features renowned medium Laura Lynn Jackson and Julie Beischel, Ph.D, a researcher dedicated to proving the science behind talking to the departed. Jackson performs several medium readings on Goop staffers and Beischel explains the science behind it. Then Jackson attempts to teach some of the Goopers how to access their own psychic energy. The lesson? Trust your gut.

Yes, Gwyneth is selling a very privileged version of the world. Yes, no one needs to spend $495 on an “intimate wellness solution”. Yes, it’s a bit woo woo.

But behind the jade eggs and the $300 face creams, Gwyneth Paltrow is actually selling a pretty simple message.

Calling all wonderful parents with kids at school – Take our survey to tell us what you think.

00:00 / ???