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



“I pretty much consider I would enjoy just to commit the rest of my daily life here,” Jackie Siegel claims at the finish of The Queen of Versailles, Lauren Greenfield’s 2012 documentary about her and her partner, David. The film chronicled the Siegel’s endeavor to make the largest solitary spouse and children household in The united states, 1 that was derailed by the 2008 economic downturn, and that acted as a garish, exaggerated stand-in for the dashed dreams of several Individuals at the time. In this scene, Jackie is not talking of her uncompleted, hypothetical dream property, but her present residence, yet another mansion on the water in Florida. And now, a ten years later on, as chronicled in the new Discovery+ present The Queen of Versailles Reigns Again, Jackie finds herself nevertheless residing in that home, nonetheless making an attempt to full her virtually 20 yrs in the is effective, 90,000 square ft, allegedly $100 million mega-mega-Windermere, Florida mansion, which she helpfully notes for comparison’s sake is the exact same measurement as a Tremendous Wal-Mart. 

The Queen of Versailles obtained numerous awards and glowing reviews for its delicately and expertly told story of course in America as viewed via the Siegel’s fantasy of creating a home impressed by the primary Palace of Versailles, alone the normal-bearer of opulence. Created by Sufficient Leisure, the six-episode sequel of types is predicated on the strategy that Jackie should end the long-languishing job inside of a year, in time to host a 2021 New Year’s Eve bash. The Queen of Versailles Reigns All over again picks up roughly in which we left off—at least when it will come to the design of the eponymous framework, on which it seems extremely little has been accomplished. David, who created his revenue in timeshares as a result of his company Westgate Resorts, has regained handle of the business and the household he was depicted making an attempt not to get rid of. Now in his mid-80s, he is struggling from wellness troubles, and so it is up to Jackie, and their now grownup children, to acquire the reins on the completion of the property, if such a classification is even adequate to account for what they are attempting. 

In the interim years because the documentary’s searing search at what prosperity and loved ones actually usually means popularized their tale, the few has stayed in the highlight, typically inside of the typical genre’s folds, appearing on shows like Beneath Deck, Flipping Out, and Movie star Spouse Swap. The new collection comes soon after at minimum a single prior attempt at a fact display, an unsuccessful lawsuit from The Queen of Versailles’ generation enterprise for defamation, even though the court docket did grant the Siegel’s the lifestyle legal rights to star in the exhibit they appear to have prolonged dreamed of. (It appears that David was the aggressor in these fits as of a few decades back, Greenfield appeared to manage a very good relationship with Jackie, although a ask for for remark to the filmmaker went unanswered by push time.) 

For viewers who are familiar, the present provokes unflattering comparisons to the initial film. In a heavily-handed accidental metaphor, the facade of the creating, which we’re instructed was set up improperly several years ago but was the only component of the household the loved ones imagined experienced been finished, is falling off. The crew driving Versailles is a motley crew—the most up-to-date architect, builder, and interior designer all have a marginally cautious look to them, as if they know you are pondering why they agreed to do this task in the very first position and they’re not confident how to remedy. (“We knew when we signed up for this there is going to be troubles everywhere,” is the most Bob, the builder, will expose on that entrance.) Jackie explains that they have had 25 designers and contractors around the years, and promises convincingly that her spouse even attempted to “reduce corners” and acquire matters into his own palms. It is stated, to some degree clearly, that “This is not a brand name new residence,” and we see that, as, amid other difficulties, several leaks spring up in the plumbing in the cavernous rooms. Unlike most household renovation exhibits, wherever complications crop up and then are promptly fixed, there is clearly no prepare below other than certainty that if the loved ones believes it, they can realize it, irrespective of the truth that the entire premise of the home appears doomed from the begin. “It blows my intellect that we’re struggling with difficulties like this,” states the couple’s son, David Jr. “I almost certainly wouldn’t seek the services of our mother and father to build my household.” 

The family’s protestations that they comprehend the worth of a greenback, and seeming consciousness of the ridiculousness of this entire factor but unwillingness to probe it, is much significantly less nuanced in this structure.

Jackie, no matter whether prompted by the producers to hit house talking points or simply deep in her have mantras, likes to repeat herself, normally stating how prolonged she’s been dreaming about the house and many components of it—her motivation for flamingos (she learns they’re safeguarded, so she settles for toucans), the family’s possess own Benihana (which will have to be scrapped when they study the venting will come to be a nightmare), the ballroom ground (will have to be delivered in from about the earth and with the pandemic, shipping and delivery delays are myriad)—and her disappointment must they not appear to fruition. It’s tough to inform whether or not the viewer is staying set up to invest in into the strategy that, ignoring all these difficulties, the regularly switching whims of the house owners, and the project’s complete background, this residence will be accomplished in just the ideal time body, or if we’re staying pulled alongside to stare at how in excess of-the-best the trappings of their failure will be. At one level, following standing on her new heated marble floors, Jackie suggests that the whole 50,000 square foot ballroom be completed to match, to which David Jr. replies, “I don’t recognize why you cannot just don slippers.”

Where first Queen of Versailles tempered the experience of merely gawking at extra with a broader glance at the individuals in the family’s orbit and a probing thoughts situating them as element of a more substantial customer lifestyle that Greenfield has extended been checking out, Reigns Again depends on classic truth television winks to the audience, this kind of as chyrons on the screen revealing how substantially each buy costs. And there is a good deal to stare at: an oversized recreation of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” in the historic pub the family’s conclusion to repaint a century-aged antique London telephone booth a brand new red or the 16’x9’ tv in the residing room, which we’re explained to is the most important in any residential house in The united states. 

It usually takes until finally the close of the year to get to the humanity that designed the Siegels a lot more than caricatures. In 2015, their daughter Victoria died of a drug overdose, and the pair have due to the fact started off a charity focused to protecting against addiction. In a scene that emotionally meditates on what place can signify to us, Jackie visits Victoria’s bedroom, revealing she’s barely touched something in it, and won’t enable the maids thoroughly clean it—that she is, on some amount, “ready for her to appear home.” 

But those times are several and far in between, and the family’s protestations that they realize the value of a dollar, and seeming consciousness of the ridiculousness of this full issue but unwillingness to probe it, is a great deal fewer nuanced in this format. “Even with all the funds in the earth, my young children know this can all go absent,” Jackie states, unnecessarily reminding the audience that, “It was virtually taken from us 10 a long time ago.” The remarks echo back again to her text from the documentary during the recession: “I informed them they may well basically have to go to higher education now. They may well in fact have to make dollars. So they are knowing, there may well not be cash there for them. So I explained, begin contemplating about what you may want to be.” If the property is the family’s really like language, it is a flimsy 1 at that, and even in his weakened state, David’s specter is as dim as it at any time was as opposed to likable Jackie. In one scene that is eerily reminiscent of the documentary, she is witnessed getting ready a celebration supper for his return household from the medical center, only to go to his area and locate that he is not sensation up to it. 

In the finale—which began streaming Wednesday—the spouse and children has a supper party on New Year’s Eve in the handful of rooms that have been rushed to completion, the nevertheless-concrete entrance corridor floor mopped, sheetrock open up to reveal the wiring driving, fake planters and a crimson carpet rolled out in front with the facade diligently lit. David, explained by Jackie as “the most important human being in the earth,” has very little but praise for the home (that is, immediately after inquiring when the flooring will arrive), and Jackie describes the minute as “1 of the most happiest times of my daily life.” 

“It is magnificent, it’s acquired a whole lot of course. I’ve been to houses all about California—they’re sort of gaudy,” David claims. “And we’re not gaudy?” Jackie asks, laughing. 

If Versailles is meant to be the representation of the American aspiration, the Siegel’s fixation on it making record and producing a area that generations to appear will live in are the absolutely realized fevered fantasy of it, given that it is unclear if their own youngsters even want to reside there. If the stage of residence renovation reality television is the expose at the close you’d like to encounter your self, and the point of higher-close actual estate fact reveals is to gawk at the finest of the ideal you are going to hardly ever have, The Queen of Versailles Reigns Once again commits to neither. Contemplating why the household proceeds to 50 %-heartedly dedicate themselves to this cartoonish thought of dwelling is eventually a lot more intriguing than seeing them do it. 

“We concluded 4,000 square toes 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 come in probable long run seasons. You see, she has a new target: to host a New Year’s Eve 2022 at the house, and ultimately transfer future 12 months, on David’s birthday.  

Best impression courtesy of Discovery+ 

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