The Goop Lab, Netflix

Goop, in case you don’t know, is a “modern lifestyle brand” which offers online advice on “wellness” and sells things like clothes, shoes, sunglasses and the now-infamous “This Smells Like My Vagina” candle. Goop’s founder is Gwyneth Paltrow, whose chutzpah you can only admire (the candle, which sells for $75, sold out almost instantly). Paltrow being better known as an actress it was probably only a matter of time before Goop found its way onto the screen in some form. That form is The Goop Lab, possibly the most bizarre programme you’ll watch this year – yes, even weirder than that Marie Kondo one – though it’s not entirely without merit. And it’s certainly eye-opening, particularly episode three which deals with the vulva.

The format: somebody offering some kind of radical or alternative wellness therapy is quizzed by Paltrow in her palatial, pastel-bedecked Californian office and that interview is intercut with testimony from ordinary people for whom said therapy has worked, and with location footage of some of Paltrow’s underlings trying it. These employees are young, handsome, racially diverse – basically a walking Gap ad – and are up for it, to varying degrees. In episode one the “it” for which they are “up” was a trip to Jamaica to get absolutely baked on magic mushrooms (which naturally involved being hugged by a slightly creepy middle-aged bloke). In episode two a different group visited snowbound Lake Tahoe in winter where a middle-aged, hug dispensing Dutchman taught them how to jump into freezing water and not die. None of them did, so you can’t say it didn’t work.

As with all things Paltrowian it’s very easy to poke fun at the extravagance, the absurdity, the decadence. But the testimony from the real people (i.e. the ones who wouldn’t get near a Gap ad or a job with Goop) at least added a little weight. We met a war veteran who had twice tried to kill himself but who felt he had been saved by drugs and psychotherapy. We met a man who felt he had beaten cancer through cold water therapy. We met a woman whose depression was lifted through micro-dosing of psychedelics. But beyond a disclaimer saying the programme was intended primarily to entertain, where was the contrary view?

Perhaps it doesn’t pay to think too deeply about The Goop Lab, or to give it any more credence than you think it deserves. Perhaps it’s best just to enjoy the spectacle and the rolling succession of weird moments –Paltrow deliberately hyperventilating and then doing 30 press-ups for instance, or learning that the vagina refers to the birth canal and not the vulva “and all the good **** around it” – and be glad we don’t live in California where around every corner there lurks an expensive, oddly-scented candle and a middle-aged bloke with a pony-tail.