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

Audrey J. Powers

“I almost consider I would appreciate just to expend the relaxation of my life listed here,” Jackie Siegel says at the stop of The Queen of Versailles, Lauren Greenfield’s 2012 documentary about her and her husband, David. The movie chronicled the Siegel’s endeavor to build the premier one loved ones property in The us, a single that was derailed by the 2008 economic downturn, and that acted as a garish, exaggerated stand-in for the dashed desires of several People in america at the time. In this scene, Jackie isn’t speaking of her uncompleted, hypothetical desire home, but her present-day residence, one more mansion on the drinking water in Florida. And now, a decade later on, as chronicled in the new Discovery+ clearly show The Queen of Versailles Reigns Once again, Jackie finds herself even now dwelling in that assets, nonetheless making an attempt to complete her pretty much 20 years in the performs, 90,000 square feet, allegedly $100 million mega-mega-Windermere, Florida mansion, which she helpfully notes for comparison’s sake is the very same sizing as a Super Wal-Mart. 

The Queen of Versailles gained several awards and glowing opinions for its delicately and expertly explained to story of course in The united states as found by way of the Siegel’s fantasy of making a property influenced by the initial Palace of Versailles, alone the standard-bearer of opulence. Generated by Enough Amusement, the 6-episode sequel of types is predicated on the idea that Jackie have to complete the extensive-languishing undertaking inside of a calendar year, in time to host a 2021 New Year’s Eve get together. The Queen of Versailles Reigns Once again picks up around exactly where we remaining off—at minimum when it comes to the building of the eponymous composition, on which it seems really very little has been accomplished. David, who made his revenue in timeshares through his company Westgate Resorts, has regained manage of the business enterprise and the home he was depicted making an attempt not to lose. Now in his mid-80s, he is suffering from wellbeing complications, and so it is up to Jackie, and their now grownup kids, to consider the reins on the completion of the residence, if these kinds of a classification is even sufficient to account for what they are making an attempt. 

In the interim decades considering the fact that the documentary’s searing appear at what wealth and household actually usually means popularized their tale, the couple has stayed in the highlight, usually within just the standard genre’s folds, appearing on demonstrates like Down below Deck, Flipping Out, and Movie star Wife Swap. The new collection arrives just after at the very least 1 prior endeavor at a fact show, an unsuccessful lawsuit versus The Queen of Versailles’ generation business for defamation, even though the courtroom did grant the Siegel’s the lifetime legal rights to star in the display they appear to be to have very long dreamed of. (It would seem that David was the aggressor in these fits as of a few yrs in the past, Greenfield appeared to retain a great relationship with Jackie, although a request for remark to the filmmaker went unanswered by press time.) 

For viewers who are common, the exhibit provokes unflattering comparisons to the primary movie. In a greatly-handed accidental metaphor, the facade of the building, which we’re told was mounted improperly decades in the past but was the only element of the house the family believed had been accomplished, is slipping off. The staff guiding Versailles is a motley crew—the most recent architect, builder, and interior designer all have a a little wary appear to them, as if they know you are questioning why they agreed to do this project in the initially position and they’re not positive how to respond to. (“We understood when we signed up for this there’s heading to be challenges in all places,” is the most Bob, the builder, will reveal on that front.) Jackie describes that they have had 25 designers and contractors above the years, and promises convincingly that her spouse even attempted to “minimize corners” and just take matters into his individual hands. It is said, to some degree certainly, that “This is not a brand new home,” and we see that, as, amongst other issues, several leaks spring up in the plumbing in the cavernous rooms. Not like most household renovation displays, the place complications crop up and then are quickly fastened, there is obviously no strategy here other than certainty that if the loved ones thinks it, they can reach it, irrespective of the fact that the full premise of the home would seem doomed from the begin. “It blows my mind that we’re going through issues like this,” claims the couple’s son, David Jr. “I in all probability would not hire our moms and dads to build my home.” 

The family’s protestations that they fully grasp the value of a greenback, and seeming awareness of the ridiculousness of this total matter but unwillingness to probe it, is substantially much less nuanced in this format.

Jackie, whether or not prompted by the producers to strike residence talking points or merely deep in her have mantras, likes to repeat herself, often stating how lengthy she’s been dreaming about the household and a variety of components of it—her wish for flamingos (she learns they’re guarded, so she settles for toucans), the family’s personal particular Benihana (which ought to be scrapped when they learn the venting will turn into a nightmare), the ballroom flooring (will have to be transported in from all-around the environment and with the pandemic, shipping delays are myriad)—and her disappointment need to they not occur to fruition. It’s hard to convey to whether or not the viewer is remaining set up to invest in into the strategy that, ignoring all these complications, the frequently changing whims of the homeowners, and the project’s full background, this dwelling will be carried out within the wished-for time body, or if we’re staying pulled alongside to stare at how in excess of-the-leading the trappings of their failure will be. At one particular issue, following standing on her new heated marble flooring, Jackie suggests that the total 50,000 square foot ballroom be completed to match, to which David Jr. replies, “I don’t fully grasp why you just cannot just dress in slippers.”

Where by first Queen of Versailles tempered the knowledge of basically gawking at surplus with a broader seem at the individuals in the family’s orbit and a probing thoughts situating them as aspect of a larger customer society that Greenfield has lengthy been discovering, Reigns Once again relies on traditional actuality tv winks to the viewers, such as chyrons on the display screen revealing how considerably just about every invest in fees. And there is a lot to stare at: an outsized recreation of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night time” in the historic pub the family’s final decision to repaint a century-outdated antique London cellphone booth a model new crimson or the 16’x9’ television in t
he living area, which we’re informed is the most significant in any household property in The united states. 

It requires till the conclude of the year to get to the humanity that made the Siegels more than caricatures. In 2015, their daughter Victoria died of a drug overdose, and the pair have because commenced a charity committed to protecting against dependancy. In a scene that emotionally meditates on what room can mean to us, Jackie visits Victoria’s bedroom, revealing she’s hardly touched nearly anything in it, and will not let the maids cleanse it—that she is, on some level, “ready for her to occur residence.” 

But those people times are few and considerably in between, and the family’s protestations that they understand the value of a greenback, and seeming recognition of the ridiculousness of this entire matter but unwillingness to probe it, is substantially much less nuanced in this structure. “Even with all the funds in the world, my young ones know this can all go absent,” Jackie says, unnecessarily reminding the audience that, “It was nearly taken from us 10 a long time in the past.” The remarks echo back again to her words from the documentary all through the economic downturn: “I informed them they could truly have to go to college or university now. They might essentially have to make income. So they are acknowledging, there may well not be funds there for them. So I said, start considering about what you may possibly want to be.” If the property is the family’s really like language, it is a flimsy one particular at that, and even in his weakened point out, David’s specter is as dim as it ever was in comparison to likable Jackie. In one scene that is eerily reminiscent of the documentary, she is witnessed getting ready a celebration meal for his return dwelling from the healthcare facility, only to go to his room and find that he is not experience up to it. 

In the finale—which started streaming Wednesday—the relatives has a dinner celebration on New Year’s Eve in the couple of rooms that have been rushed to completion, the still-concrete entrance hall ground mopped, sheetrock open to reveal the wiring driving, fake planters and a purple carpet rolled out in front with the facade thoroughly lit. David, explained by Jackie as “the most important person in the earth,” has nothing at all but praise for the household (that is, right after asking when the flooring will arrive), and Jackie describes the moment as “a single of the most happiest days of my daily life.” 

“It’s beautiful, it’s received a good deal of course. I have been to properties all about California—they’re type of gaudy,” David states. “And we’re not gaudy?” Jackie asks, laughing. 

If Versailles is intended to be the illustration of the American desire, the Siegel’s fixation on it producing heritage and making a place that generations to come will stay in are the absolutely realized fevered fantasy of it, presented that it is unclear if their have young children even want to reside there. If the level of home renovation fact tv is the reveal at the conclude you’d like to expertise oneself, and the issue of significant-finish true estate actuality reveals is to gawk at the most effective of the ideal you’ll by no means have, The Queen of Versailles Reigns Once again commits to neither. Contemplating why the spouse and children proceeds to half-heartedly devote by themselves to this cartoonish notion of home is in the long run much more fascinating than seeing them do it. 

“We finished 4,000 square ft this year—only 86,000 to go!” Jackie claims in the finale, in advance of a teaser sets up for all the mess that is very likely to occur in likely upcoming seasons. You see, she has a new purpose: to host a New Year’s Eve 2022 at the home, and ultimately transfer next year, on David’s birthday.  

Top rated image courtesy of Discovery+ 

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