November 28, 2022


Interior The Freshmaker

In ‘The Queen of Versailles Reigns Again,’ an Unfinished Mega-Mansion Is Not a Home

“I just about think I would adore just to commit the rest of my lifetime below,” Jackie Siegel says at the end of The Queen of Versailles, Lauren Greenfield’s 2012 documentary about her and her partner, David. The movie chronicled the Siegel’s endeavor to build the biggest single loved ones property in The usa, 1 that was derailed by the 2008 economic downturn, and that acted as a garish, exaggerated stand-in for the dashed desires of lots of Us residents at the time. In this scene, Jackie isn’t speaking of her uncompleted, hypothetical dream residence, but her existing home, yet another mansion on the h2o in Florida. And now, a decade later on, as chronicled in the new Discovery+ display The Queen of Versailles Reigns Again, Jackie finds herself still dwelling in that property, continue to trying to comprehensive her practically 20 decades in the will work, 90,000 sq. ft, allegedly $100 million mega-mega-Windermere, Florida mansion, which she helpfully notes for comparison’s sake is the same dimension as a Tremendous Wal-Mart. 

The Queen of Versailles received quite a few awards and glowing reviews for its delicately and expertly explained to tale of class in The usa as witnessed as a result of the Siegel’s fantasy of developing a dwelling motivated by the primary Palace of Versailles, by itself the normal-bearer of opulence. Created by Enough Leisure, the six-episode sequel of sorts is predicated on the concept that Jackie need to complete the lengthy-languishing challenge inside of a calendar year, in time to host a 2021 New Year’s Eve get together. The Queen of Versailles Reigns All over again picks up roughly wherever we remaining off—at minimum when it will come to the development of the eponymous construction, on which it seems really minor has been carried out. David, who produced his money in timeshares by way of his firm Westgate Resorts, has regained command of the company and the property he was depicted making an attempt not to shed. Now in his mid-80s, he is suffering from health troubles, and so it is up to Jackie, and their now grownup young children, to take the reins on the completion of the house, if this kind of a classification is even ample to account for what they are making an attempt. 

In the interim several years considering that the documentary’s searing search at what wealth and relatives seriously usually means popularized their tale, the pair has stayed in the spotlight, usually inside the normal genre’s folds, showing on demonstrates like Beneath Deck, Flipping Out, and Superstar Spouse Swap. The new series comes just after at least one particular prior try at a fact present, an unsuccessful lawsuit against The Queen of Versailles’ manufacturing enterprise for defamation, nevertheless the court docket did grant the Siegel’s the life legal rights to star in the present they appear to have very long dreamed of. (It appears that David was the aggressor in these fits as of a couple years ago, Greenfield appeared to sustain a good romance with Jackie, although a request for comment to the filmmaker went unanswered by push time.) 

For viewers who are common, the show provokes unflattering comparisons to the original movie. In a greatly-handed accidental metaphor, the facade of the developing, which we’re informed was installed improperly yrs ago but was the only aspect of the home the relatives imagined experienced been accomplished, is falling off. The workforce powering Versailles is a motley crew—the most up-to-date architect, builder, and interior designer all have a marginally cautious glimpse to them, as if they know you are questioning why they agreed to do this challenge in the first area and they are not sure how to solution. (“We understood when we signed up for this there is likely to be difficulties almost everywhere,” is the most Bob, the builder, will reveal on that entrance.) Jackie clarifies that they have experienced 25 designers and contractors in excess of the yrs, and claims convincingly that her partner even attempted to “cut corners” and get matters into his individual arms. It is said, rather naturally, that “This is not a brand new property,” and we see that, as, among other problems, numerous leaks spring up in the plumbing in the cavernous rooms. In contrast to most dwelling renovation exhibits, in which difficulties crop up and then are swiftly fastened, there is evidently no system right here other than certainty that if the spouse and children thinks it, they can obtain it, no matter of the truth that the total premise of the residence appears doomed from the start. “It blows my mind that we’re facing troubles like this,” states the couple’s son, David Jr. “I likely wouldn’t employ the service of our mom and dad to construct my household.” 

The family’s protestations that they have an understanding of the importance of a dollar, and seeming awareness of the ridiculousness of this total matter but unwillingness to probe it, is a great deal less nuanced in this format.

Jackie, no matter if prompted by the producers to strike residence chatting details or basically deep in her individual mantras, likes to repeat herself, normally stating how lengthy she’s been dreaming about the residence and numerous elements of it—her want for flamingos (she learns they’re secured, so she settles for toucans), the family’s personal particular Benihana (which must be scrapped when they master the venting will turn out to be a nightmare), the ballroom ground (will have to be shipped in from around the entire world and with the pandemic, shipping and delivery delays are myriad)—and her disappointment ought to they not occur to fruition. It’s tricky to notify no matter whether the viewer is getting established up to obtain into the idea that, disregarding all these issues, the frequently switching whims of the entrepreneurs, and the project’s overall background, this house will be completed inside of the wished-for time body, or if we’re remaining pulled alongside to stare at how over-the-top the trappings of their failure will be. At one particular level, right after standing on her new heated marble flooring, Jackie indicates that the complete 50,000 sq. foot ballroom be accomplished to match, to which David Jr. replies, “I don’t recognize why you cannot just put on slippers.”

The place original Queen of Versailles tempered the expertise of basically gawking at excessive with a broader seem at the individuals in the family’s orbit and a probing questions situating them as element of a bigger purchaser society that Greenfield has prolonged been checking out, Reigns Yet again depends on vintage fact television winks to the viewers, these types of as chyrons on the display screen revealing how considerably each individual buy charges. And there is a great deal to stare at: an oversized recreation of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night time” in the historic pub the family’s selection to repaint a century-previous antique London telephone booth a model new pink or the 16’x9’ tv in the dwelling room, which we’re told is the biggest in any residential property in The us. 

It normally takes until finally the close of the time to get to the humanity that manufactured the Siegels additional than caricatures. In 2015, their daughter Victoria died of a drug overdose, and the pair have considering that begun a charity committed to blocking habit. In a scene that emotionally meditates on what space can imply to us, Jackie visits Victoria’s bed room, revealing she’s barely touched nearly anything in it, and won’t allow the maids clean it—that she is, on some level, “waiting around for her to appear home.” 

But these times are couple and much in between, and the family’s protestations that they recognize the significance of a dollar, and seeming recognition of the ridiculousness of this entire thing but unwillingness to probe it, is much less nuanced in this format. “Even with all the income in the entire world, my kids know this can all go absent,” Jackie suggests, unnecessarily reminding the audience that, “It was practically taken from us 10 several years back.” The feedback echo back again to her words from the documentary throughout the economic downturn: “I explained to them they may well actually have to go to higher education now. They could possibly really have to make dollars. So they are noticing, there might not be cash there for them. So I stated, start off imagining about what you might want to be.” If the dwelling is the family’s adore language, it is a flimsy just one at that, and even in his weakened condition, David’s specter is as dim as it at any time was when compared to likable Jackie. In 1 scene that is eerily reminiscent of the documentary, she is witnessed preparing a celebration dinner for his return house from the clinic, only to go to his space and find that he is not sensation up to it. 

In the finale—which commenced streaming Wednesday—the family members has a dinner bash on New Year’s Eve in the couple rooms that have been rushed to completion, the nevertheless-concrete entrance hall flooring mopped, sheetrock open to reveal the wiring behind, phony planters and a pink carpet rolled out in front with the facade cautiously lit. David, described by Jackie as “the most vital human being in the globe,” has nothing but praise for the property (that is, immediately after asking when the flooring will get there), and Jackie describes the minute as “one of the most happiest days of my daily life.” 

“It is magnificent, it is received a large amount of course. I have been to residences all over California—they’re type of gaudy,” David claims. “And we’re not gaudy?” Jackie asks, laughing. 

If Versailles is intended to be the illustration of the American aspiration, the Siegel’s fixation on it creating record and making a place that generations to come will live in are the thoroughly recognized fevered fantasy of it, supplied that it’s unclear if their very own small children even want to reside there. If the place of dwelling renovation actuality television is the expose at the conclude you’d like to experience on your own, and the issue of higher-close serious estate reality demonstrates is to gawk at the best of the finest you are going to hardly ever have, The Queen of Versailles Reigns All over again commits to neither. Contemplating why the family carries on to fifty percent-heartedly dedicate on their own to this cartoonish plan of property is in the end a lot more intriguing than viewing them do it. 

“We concluded 4,000 square ft this year—only 86,000 to go!” Jackie states in the finale, in advance of a teaser sets up for all the mess that is most likely to appear in possible potential seasons. You see, she has a new objective: to host a New Year’s Eve 2022 at the home, and last but not least go upcoming yr, on David’s birthday.  

Top rated graphic courtesy of Discovery+ 

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