Gwyneth Paltrow’s pseudoscience Goop series renewed on Netflix

Promotional image of Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow emerging from a stylized depiction of the female genital anatomy.
Enlarge / Promotional image of Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow emerging from a stylized depiction of the female genital anatomy.

Gwyneth Paltrow—actor, pseudoscience-peddler, empowerer of women, and person who recently learned what a vagina is—will return to Netflix with a second season of The Goop Lab.

The six-episode docuseries of Paltrow’s wellness and “contextual commerce” empire, Goop, has been renewed, according to an exclusive report by Variety.

The first season, which oozed onto the streaming platform in late January of this year, followed Paltrow and her exploited Goopers as they aimlessly took to the high seas of junk science and marinated in snake oil spas. Individual episodes explored important topics such as the bright side of hypothermia, the powers of a magician who can massage your aura with moves he learned watching The Karate Kid, Goopers tripping on mushrooms for pretty much no reason at all, the benefits of a $50 salmon fillet, and how to be a fortune-teller in case you need a back-up career in the circus.

The bright spot of the season, by far, was an episode that featured the work of feminist sex educator Betty Dodson. Not only is Dodson a knowledgeable and respected expert in her field and a worthy person to amplify, the episode featured an exchange between her and Paltrow in which it became painfully clear that Paltrow does not have a firm grasp of the female anatomy. She literally did not know what a vagina is.

Goopy past

Of course, none of this is surprising to those familiar with Goop. Prior to its Netflix debut, the company was perhaps best known for selling—and making allegedly illegal health claims about—a jade egg intended to be shoved up women’s vaginas. (Although, based on the episode with Dodson, who knows where Paltrow was actually putting it.)

Another item on the mind-blowing lineup of Goop products is a device to spurt hot coffee up your keister. The $135 enema device is called—I kid you not—the Implant O’Rama. There are also water bottles with giant crystals inside to infuse your beverage with “positive energy,” bags of “magically charged” stones, and “energy healing” body stickers falsely claimed to be made of “NASA space suit material.” Goop also sold $90 vitamins and a $350 rose gold crazy drink straw. It endorsed being repeatedly stung by bees, which can be deadly.

You might think—or hope—that with such complete and blatant hooey, this “contextual commerce” brand would be a dud on the market. But sadly, Paltrow has built up Goop into a $250 million empire, with store-fronts popping up on multiple continents, and of course the Netflix deal.

In a desperate effort to see a silver lining in this tragedy of human folly, you might next cynically hope that the Netflix series was at least amusing, an unwitting parody of grifter wellness gurus—complete with a cast of absurd characters (Paltrow chief among them) in utterly ridiculous scenarios. But sadly, that too is a disappointment. The first season of The Goop Lab was as boring and dry as it was devoid of sensibility and critical thinking skills. Paltrow’s female anatomy blooper was the clear climax of the six-episodes, a shock paddle-delivered jolt to an otherwise lifeless series. If you listen closely, I believe you can hear a member of the production team yell “clear!” right beforehand.

Darkness ahead

So—as only fitting for this bleak year of 2020—we are gifted with another six-episode season. And there is no reason to think that it will be any better than the first.

In comments to Variety in February, Paltrow dismissed valid criticism of her series and empire by suggesting it was Internet clickbait, solely produced to make profit off her famous name.

“That kind of media, a lot of it is dying. The business model is failing, and they’re turning to the tabloidization to get the clicks,” said Paltrow—a woman who set aside a dwindling acting career to “milk the shit out of” the multi-trillion-dollar wellness industry and make millions touting pseudoscience.

Paltrow did magnanimously add that she is open to criticism if “it was something I could learn from.”

Well, she has us there. We can only do so much, you know, beyond legal settlements, court orders, and at least $145,000 in civil penalties.

So in this horrible year of unrest, with bitter and deep divisiveness and a global health crisis plagued by misinformation, another steaming pile of Goop episodes seems apt. And Paltrow has fully embraced the moment: “What I think is great is that we are a brand that people feel strongly about,” Paltrow said. “One way or the other.”


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