Wow, so apparently 2020 is the year that Gwyneth Paltrow decided to go horny on main. In case you don’t live on the internet 24/7, allow me to break this phrase down for you. The internet is wild dystopian jungle where humanity’s survivors spend their days arguing with robots about the important issues of the day like global politics and which member of the cast of Succession they’d like to be run over with a truck by. Many people like to separate these two streams by using their main internet presence to discuss serious issues and creating an alternate presence for Horny Studies. The exception to this rule is people who work in Media, where logging on and screaming “Cousin Greg punch me in my face sksksksk” is seen as professional advancement. This is how peace is maintained between the two great kingdoms—Serious Discourse and Hot Mess Express. But, like an avenging angel laden with a fiery staff in one hand and a jade egg in… the other hand, Gwyneth Paltrow is here to destroy that peace with her new Netflix show, the goop lab (all lowercase).
I have so many questions but, honestly, every question is immediately accompanied by the answer “Really, what did you expect?”
The audacity of Netflix promoting this series with the line “Gwyneth Paltrow welcomes you to the Goop Lab” is breathtaking. That’s like saying “Joe from You welcomes you to the bookstore.” Maybe you’ll leave with a copy of The Price of Salt but… maybe not.
Goop’s new series, according to the preview, sends various Goop editors and Gwyneth herself on a series of harrowing adventures in alternative wellness that have got to be HR headaches. Can you imagine going to your desk in the surely open office concept of Goop Headquarters, turning on your Gooputer, opening up your Pal-mail, and seeing an email from Gwyneth with the subject line “Scheduling your exorcism!????” How does one even respond to that? Do you get PTO? (Prayer Time Off?)
My thoughts exactly!
The areas of “study” in the “lab” include “Psychedelics”, “Cold Therapy”, “Psychic Mediums”, “Orgasms”, and “Energy Healing”, all of which seem like categories on the most deranged episode of Jeopardy! yet. Cold Therapy, for instance, seems to involve bringing a bunch of Goop employees in bathrobes into a tundra and then… I don’t know, Lord of the Flies-ing it? Who can say? I am willing to entertain the idea that Gwyneth is performing a psychological experiment to see how far she can push people before they band together and overthrow her.
The thing I find so fascinating about Goop-era Gwyneth is that she consistently maintains the energy of that one friend you have who is always doing things that seem like cries for help but are kind of working out for her nonetheless. Once a month you meet her for bottomless brunch and she tells you about throwing up her soul while doing ayahuasca or spending two weeks at a silent retreat run by a Komodo dragon and you have to figure out how one asks follow-up questions. She’s like “Anyway, I’m sure you already guessed this but I found out that one of the things affecting my productivity was that my clitoris is haunted.” And you’re like “Oh, well that sounds like a real pickle. My washing machine has been making a strange noise so I… I get it.”
Let’s circle back to this exorcism, actually. I can’t get over it. Take, for starters, Gwyneth’s casual response to the revelation that one of her employees had a demon cast out of her:
BY R. ERIC THOMAS