Monday, May 6, 2013

Queen of Versailles

This weekend I watched "Queen of Versailles" on Bravo.  I had heard about the movie when production began but then the economic bubble burst and the movie took a different turn. 

Back in 2008, David Siegel owns Westgate Resorts, one of the world's largest timeshare companies  (David's son runs the Vegas branch of the company and readily admitted that their target client is the un-educated Wal-Mart customer who is just looking for free tickets to Vegas shows).  The guy is worth billions and claims to be solely responsible for George W's second term (he insinuates that what he did wasn't entirely legal) yet he cannot buy his family an ounce of class.  His wife, Jackie, is a clueless big-boobed, blond, former engineer / former beauty queen / trophy wife.  These two are planning to build the largest single-family home in the USA: 90,000 square feet.  The home is to include thirteen bedrooms, twenty-something bathrooms, multiple kitchens, a bowling alley, an indoor skating rink, an arcade, an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, a spa, and staff quarters. The kids will have an entire wing made just for them (natch), complete with a living room, a computer center, and a movie theater. The adults will have a theater of their own, as well. 

Their current home (25,000+ square feet) is disgusting -- dog poop everywhere, dead fish floating in the fish tank, a dead lizard (one of the kids claims "I didn't even know we had a lizard!").  Jackie is so clueless she pops out a bunch of kids and claims that she wouldn't have had that many children if it wasn't for her nannies (at one point they had 19 employees in their home; unfortunately they had to let them go when they went belly up).  One of the nannies is actually living in the children's former play house.  I kid you not. 

The documentary starts with David talking about their fortune and the home.  He's kind of likable at the beginning but then when the market tumbles, David starts the blame game.  The Segals are not able to finish their home and have to severely reducing their lifestyle.  Apparently, Jackie didn't get the memo.  She continues to spend (one disturbing scene shows her Christmas shopping in Wal-Mart filling shopping cart after shopping cart of nothing but random crap) and plastic surgery/treatments (she gets a peel or something). This woman is white-trash personified.  She flies home to Binghampton, NY to visit family and friends and claims it was her first commercial flight (I find it very hard to believe that a girl from humble beginnings in upstate NY has never flown coach before!) and she asks the clerk at the Hertz Rental Car desk for the name of her driver.  What the hell?  It kind of felt contrived and she was playing up to the cameras.  David is much, much older than Jackie and he plays the typical the creepy old rich man.  The type who indulge their wives as long as they are hot and attentive.  He has grown children from previous marriages and the one son seems to delight in referring to Jackie as "Grandma" in front of her Christmas party guests as he and his kids enter the home.  Towards the end of the movie, David basically ignores Jackie and his brood and prefers to take his meals privately in front of a big screen TV.   These two idiots are worth billions but have no savings and lament about how their kids might actually have to work (quelle horror!!!).  Jackie is actually quite perturbed that they didn't receive any bail-out money.  You know, the money that was supposed to go to the "common people."

Jackie's only saving grace is that she seems, at times, to understand her family's responsibility to it's former employees and has started a consignment / thrift store to benefit the locals. 

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