Ars Technica health reporter Beth Mole (previously) is a national treasure, and nowhere is her background in biology and science communications on better display than when she is puncturing the potentially lethal bullshit (vaginal jade egg -> toxic shock -> RIP) that Gwyneth Paltrow peddles through her Goop magazine and store (Mole was very good on Paltrow's advice to squirt coffee up your asshole).
Now, Mole has watched all six episodes of "Goop Lab," Paltrow's abysmal new Netflix show, and has lived to tell the tale. Of course, Mole doesn't merely critique the incoherent, bumbling storytelling of the series — she also digs into the scientific chaos of Paltrow's fully on-brand bad advice on subjects as varied as the therapeutic uses of psychedelics to energy healing to immersing yourself in ice-water under the supervision of a charlatan who claims he can cure cancer and whose "therapy" has killed some of his "patients."
The thing that struck me about Mole's review is that some of Paltrow's guest-experts clearly made some kind of tradeoff where they agreed to tacitly endorse Paltrow's woo-profiteering in exchange for access to her audience, in the hopes of passing on some real, useful, scientific information — and how Paltrow managed to neutralize most of the benefit that these legitimate experts might have had to offer to her viewers by bookending their advice with stupid stunts or foolish commentary.
In fact, earlier in that same episode, we learn that the 47-year-old actor didn't even know what a vagina is.
"It's our favorite subject—vaginas!" Paltrow proclaims gleefully [Ep.3, 3:05]. Then the same guest, feminist sex educator Betty Dodson, corrects her: "The vagina is the birth canal—only. You want to talk about the vulva, which is the clitoris, and the inner lips, and all that good shit around it."
Paltrow giggles before responding, "The vagina is only the birth canal? Oh! See, I'm getting an anatomy lesson that I didn't—I thought that the vagina was the whole…"
"No, no, no, no," Dodson cuts her off.
Goop's Netflix series: It's so much worse than I expected and I can't unsee it [Beth Mole/Ars Technica]