HBO Summer Documentary: AMERICANS IN BED

By Jef Dinsmore on Aug 14, 2013 to Documentaries


Overview: From an HBO Press Release – What makes or breaks a relationship today? From the privacy of their own bedrooms, ten couples offer frank, funny and often surprising insights into love, sex and marriage in AMERICANS IN BED. Featuring a rich cross-section of ages, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations, the revealing and thoughtful special debuts wraps up this year’s summer documentary film series.

Doc_AmericanBedDirector Philippa Robinson conducts wide-ranging interviews with subjects who are filmed in the comfort of their own beds, asking probing questions about what people look for in a partner and how they know when they have found it. From a couple that has been together for 71 years to a pair of fresh-faced newlyweds, viewers will witness candid and touching insights into relationships, underscoring the fact that no union is as simple as it seems on the surface.

Expectations: My first impression about this documentary is how clever it is to actually film couples in bed. Just knowing what goes on in my bed with the various situations and conversations experienced there makes me think that the bed as stage will spark some interesting stories in this film. Though the press release given me mentions the couples interviewed I purposefully ignored that information so that I can meet the players, as it were, via the documentary. I know there are ten couples and the trailer, which shows up below, gives us sound bites from the couple’s intimate lives.

I am intrigued to hear what they say. It shouldn’t feel like a voyeuristic experience for any viewer but serve as examples of the relationship dynamic. We all hope to be in a good, healthy relationship. Let’s see what these couples can teach us in AMERICANS IN BED.

Gut Reaction: Aww that was sweet, for the most part. Ten couples, in bed talking about their relationships. Some got more air time than others but they all had something to say. Here is a quick rundown of the couples and a bit about their conversations with the camera.

Randy and Julie

Randy and Julie

Joe & Patty – in their 40’s with a family; enjoying their life but wishing for more alone timeLeon & Blanca – a couple that admits to breaking up 26 times yet always staying together

Randy & Julie – their arguing gets in the way of the fun; they even debate about their bickering on camera

Linda & Margie – these are two happy ladies who bonded after marriages to men failed

Helen & Red – a couple married for 71 years; it is a delight to her their story and their wit

George & Farid – a gay couple who never expected marriage and children were possible and their delight that it is

Deanna & Guy – they have nothing in common but they are in love anyway

Yasmin & Mohamed – An Egyptian-American Muslim couple who are newlyweds after a strict cultural courtship

Fatima & Kevin – Kevin’s cheating has rocked this relationship but the couple work hard to rebuild it

Antonio & Roberta – Physicality as the attractant but now years later there are doubts in this marriage

Helen and Red

Helen and Red

AMERICANS IN BED certainly gives us a wide example of the types of couples that are out there. There are couples that are happy and those with challenges; same sex and opposite sex couples; older and younger ones. Maybe, you can even see a relationship close to the one you are in. It is a treat worth exploring. This film is not an episode of REAL SEX. Though sex is certainly brought up in a sometimes bawdy manner it is about a lot more than that. It is about human feelings that some participants here have a hard time explaining and yet others can sum it up quite nicely. In the end the film proves to be a treat.

Together all these plotlines play out quite easily in this documentary and proves that we all have to work hard at the relationships we build and if we stay diligent they can be ones of great joy physically, mentally and emotionally.

In Conclusion: And that last sentence is a nice one to hold onto as HBOWatch concludes its review of the HBO Summer Documentary Series. Don’t let it end without watching AMERICAN IN BED.

HBO airdates remaining are 08.15 at 2:00am; 08.21 at 12:00am and 08.27 at 1:45am. It can also be found on HBOGo.


  • The wife and I caught this one yesterday. Yeah, I agree that it was pretty entertaining and touching at times, particularly the first 30 minutes. It’s not all about sex, that’s for sure. I’m sort of wondering where they found these people, ya know? How do you ask someone to do that? Some of them seemed like subjects they didn’t want to talk about were coming up so it’s like.. why did you agree to get on this thing? Sort of like reality TV I guess and it made for a more real documentary. They probably interviewed them for 3 hours and then kept the best stuff and the one time they argued for 30 seconds.

    I’d give this one a watch if you havent!

    • Robbie Moraes

      Are you kidding? This was the dumbest idea HBO has ever done. It was Reality Tv. It was the Kardiasians. It was in shot. Garbage.

      • Psychologist

        Not true, it was delicate, intimate and interesting.

        A psychologist’s view.

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