Jerry: Spent the night at James', did we? Elaine: Yeah, but we reversed positions, so there was no funny business. Jerry: Reversed positions? Elaine: Yeah, you know, head to toe. Jerry: So what? Your genitals are still lined up. Elaine: No, because I slept with my back to him. (long pause)
Two characters have to share a room for the night. Just one problem — there is only one bed, and the characters aren't in a relationship.
A source of embarrassment, Unresolved Sexual Tension, or at the very least fuel for shippers everywhere, this is when two who aren't in a relationship (at the time) have to share a bed, for whatever reason.
It speaks to one's character if they insist on sleeping on the floor (or, in slightly more luxurious settings, the couch); often this will make the other upset that they then have to "owe" that person. It also speaks of their character if they demand the other person take the floor.
If one of the characters is a woman, then she will almost always end up with the bed due to one of two scenarios. The first is the woman forces the poor guy to sleep on the floor and the second is the Nice Guy volunteering to do so.
See also Innocent Cohabitation, Sleep Cute. Contrast with Sleeping Single. See: Exiled to the Couch for when married or romantic couples kick someone out as punishment, possibly for Blanket Tug O War (which also affects non-romantic couples as well).
Shows up in far too many fanfics to attempt documentation. Usually played for shipping purposes, but can occasionally be used for comedic value.
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Anime & Manga
Koyuki and Maho (LOTS of UST there) of BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad share a single bed in an episode where she crashes at his house, but nothing ends up happening between them.
Amnesiac Makoto in Kanon insists on sleeping with Yuuichi because Pirozhki the cat is sleeping with him one night. It turns out there's another reason, and then we all get really, really sad.
Conan and Ran in Detective Conan. Ran doesn't think anything of sleeping in the same bed as her little friend during one dangerous night, not knowing who he actually is; Conan is distracted enough by it to not be able to focus on the case. And in a subversion, this saves Ran's life, as she had been targeted by the killer of the case and he attacked them right after they went to bed; since Conan was still awake, he managed to push Ran aside so she wouldn't be hit by said killer's axe, and this woke up Ran and allowed her to repel the killer's following attack.
In the flashback of episode two, Nanoha, Fate and Hayate andReinforce Zwei sleep in the same bed while wearing the shirts and skirts of their respective uniforms. Nanoha doesn't even wear her skirt.
In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, the four members of Team Nakajima sleep in the same bed at the training camp. This might be justified, since the Alpines has eleven guests and their house is not a hotel, actually. This gives some Ship Tease between Vivio and Einhard as well as Rio and Corona.
Yes! Pretty Cure 5 took it further with its expanded cast (five members). Much further. Further enough that shippers of all kinds decided it was probably best not to read any meaning into it.
In Doki Doki Pretty Cure, when Rikka spends nights with Mana, they sleep in two futons next to each other. The very close futons can be considered as one bed. Makoto spends a night with Mana, too. Also Alice spent some nights with Mana.
Les YayUp to Eleven, when Mana sleeps together with Regina in one bed, holding hands each other. The following events make it tragic...
Lina and Gourry from The Slayers have to share a room in a tavern. Lina insists that Gourry takes the bed because of the circumstances leading to such a situation (and because being Lina. she's embarrassed), but at the end they both sleep on the floor, since Gourry thinks it's not chivalrous to sleep comfortably while she's not.
This actually became something of a Running Gag amongst Doujin writers, with C.C. often repeating the "a gentleman would take the floor" line and kicking Lelouch out of bed as soon as they're finished having sex.
In Patlabor Gotoh and Shinobu get stuck in a major storm on their way back from a conference. The only place they find to stay is a love hotel, which naturally only has a single bed. He offers to sleep on the couch, of course. The situation is complicated by Gotoh's blatant crush on Shinobu.
In Fatal Fury: the Motion Picture, Shiranui Mai is all a-twitter that the hotel room she and her boyfriend Andy Bogard are staying in only has one bed. Andy is often more focused on staying fit and prepared in case he finds himself having to fight someone more than indulging in his flirtatious girlfriend. Andy then sleeps on the couch just to spite her advances.
Parodied in Candy Boy, when Sakuya imagines a king sized bed for what what would happen in Spring if she and Kanade shared a room, in which Sakuya custom designed. Kanade replies, to herself, with "Wait, why is there only one bed?" with an obviously annoyed look on her face.
In one arc of Shugo Chara!, Ikuto lives in Amu's room for while. Amu tries to make him sleep on the floor but Ikuto, being Ikuto, just crawls back in the bed.
In Ranma ½, for reasons that make sense in context, Ranma and Akane have to pretend to be married. Which means to keep up the ruse, they have to share Akane's room for the night. The trope isn't played out, as Ranma sleeps on the floor.
By a third party's intervention in Dual, Kazuki and Mitsuki are not only forced to spend a night together, but also nude. It doesn't help that of the Harem, she's the least active in looking for his affection.
Fushigi Yuugi has this happen twice in the manga. In the first instance, Miaka and Tamahome are fresh into the relationship but were placed in a single bed to get some battle injuries healed (it's not that kind of healing, but they still get bonus points for having been deprived entirely of clothes by Taiitsukun); the next time, Tamahome ends up on the floor due to Virgin Power and all that, but after a tender little conversation, he goes up to Miaka's bed and promptly falls asleep before they get to third base. The anime only has the first instance.
In Asobi ni Iku yo! after Kio's house becomes the Catian Embassy and Aoi and Manami get drafted as its security detail, they end up sharing Kio's bed, having ejected Kio himself to the couch.
In Spice and Wolf, Holo teases Lawrence about saving money by taking a room with a single bed. It doesn't really matter, since they usually sleep together in a not-particularly spacious cart while traveling anyway.
In Axis Powers Hetalia, whether or not there is an extra bed at Germany's house we will never know, because Italy insists on sleeping in the same bed as him — either naked (original comic) or in his undies (anime).
Goes from awful to absolute worst in the Midori Days manga. The class goes to a ski resort, and Seiji and Ayase get lost in a snowstorm. Freezing cold, they decide to spend the night in an awkwardly-placed love hotel, with one bed. Ayase divides the bed with a blanket - that doesn't stop things when they accidentally start up some of the... kinkier mechanics of the bed. And then the entire class finds them.
Neon Genesis Evangelion's only episode with Kaworu shows him sharing his bedroom with Shinji. However, Shinji insists on sleeping on the floor since he asked Kaworu to let him spend the night there in the first place.
Creo the Crimson Crises has Creo use this as her excuse as to why she climbed into bed with Suou when she was asleep. Suou and her sister Akane don't buy it, and it probably wasn't helped by the fact that Creo was naked when she slept with Suou.
One episode of Trigun has resident Chivalrous Pervert Vash offering his services as a bodyguard to a pretty girl. She thinks that someone might be out to kill her, and he jumps at the opportunity to have a little fun. She books two hotel rooms for the night, one for each of them, but she secretly switches her room with Vash's just to play it safe. While Vash is laying on his bed, a grenade flies in through the window and blows the whole room apart, launching Vash and his bed outside into the street. Vash asks if he could then sleep in the same room as her, not caring if this trope is put into effect or not, but she denies his request by saying that he already has a bed...
In The Familiar of Zero, Louise made Saito sleep on the floor, but starting in season 2 let him share her bed. Much to Louise's chagrin, Siesta is assigned as Saito's maid and shares their bed. At one point in season 4, Tabitha joined their bed, and squeezed Louise out.
As Touma of A Certain Magical Index lives in a single-bedroom apartment, he sleeps in the bathroom tub while allowing Index to sleep in the actual bed.
Scott Pilgrim and his gay roommate Wallace have to share a futon because their apartment is apparently too small for another bed. Or Scott being a total freeloader who doesn't want to spring for a bed of his own.
In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Quatermain and Murray visit a school, posing as a married couple, with Nemo as their servant. They are shown to their rooms: a big one with a huge luxurious bed for the "married couple", and a small one the size of a closet with a tiny cot for the "servant". Nemo imperiously informs Mina that "you will, of course, take the single room"... Cut to Quatermain and Nemo both squeezed into the servant's room, and Quatermain's sardonic comment of "Women" and Nemo's admission that women are "hardly my strong point."
Zigzagged in French comic "Les démons d'Alexia" (Alexia's demons). Alexia is actually surprised her assistant Berenice rented a room with two beds. Then the local correspondent enters the room, and falls on one bed, exhausted. Berenice asks how they will deal with this, and the answer is off-panel. Notice that Alexia and Berenice are Ambiguously Gay, but Berenice is much more extrovert (she's the one who invited Alexia to go sunbathing naked).
Played for Drama in the "The Twin Brothers" as recorded by the Brothers Grimm. The one twin with his entourage of animals gets the Standard Hero Reward for slaying a dragon, marries the Princess and settles down with her. After this, however, he gets in trouble with a witch who turns him to stone. His identical twin brother, meanwhile, comes to town with his own entourage of animals (also perfectly identical twins to his brother's animals) and is immediately mistaken for his brother. When the young queen brings what she thinks is her husband to the royal bedchamber, the twin brother lays out a sharp double-edged sword between them to keep from pulling an adulterous Bed Trick on her. After he rescues his brother, this sword proves rather important to establishing his continued chastity and faithfulness to the purity of his brother's marriage.
Aladdin does this in the original version. Having ordered his genie to kidnap the princess he's fallen in love with (while she's in bed, so he just lifts up the bed and flies off), he gets in bed with her but puts a big sword between them in case case he gets any funny ideas. This continues until the poor princess finally confesses to the sultan, who starts looking for the mystery man.
In The Unchosen One, Twilight and Trixie ends up having to share Twilight's old bed in her old room at the castle. (They're not a couple... yet.) Trixie offers to sleep on the floor, but Twilight refuses, and insists that the bed is big enough for both of them. (It's not.)
In It Happened One Night (1934), the couple, (who barely know each other) have to share a room with twin beds. They hang a sheet between the two beds and call it "The Wall of Jericho." This is probably where anything similar comes from.
In Bandits they did the sheet thing on a double bed, but it didn't last very long.
The new Pink Panther movie. There's no actual UST, but Clouseau keeps saying exactly the wrong thing.
Happened in Alex and Emma. Well, initially. They ended up having sex, but originally they were just going to share the bed.
It initially shows up in MouseHunt. We don't know about the brothers' sleeping arrangements afterwards.
The Sure Thing uses this bit three times. Only once, though, do both characters make it through the night in the bed.
Played straight (so to speak) in Mulholland Dr., when Betty suggests to Rita that she needn't sleep on the couch, as the bed is big enough for two. As Rita disrobes and get into bed naked, Betty realizes she feels sexually attracted to her — and as it soon appears, the feeling is mutual.
In Idiocracy, Joe and Rita have to share the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House. Joe, naturally, takes the floor, even after Rita invites him into the bed. To add to the humor, Rita is a former prostitute.
This happened in No Holds Barred, a 1989 Hulk Hogan vehicle. They share the bed after Hulk's character puts up a barrier.
French movie Le Bossu (released in the U.S. as On Guard) has a hilarious sequence when the Duc de Nevers is traveling to marry the woman he loves and needs to share a bed with his new friend Lagardére. As they get into bed, the Duc comments that his marriage will surprise a relative who "thinks I only like boys. Ever dabbled in sodomy?" The unnerved look on Lagardére's face is priceless. So is the way he clutches at the blankets.
In Outsourced, a movie about an American guy training a call center in India, the main character and his romantic interest are forced to share a room at a Kama Sutra hotel since it's the last room / last hotel available and it's the honeymoon suite. They somehow end up consummating their romantic tension due to the circumstances. The movie is a bit of a cliche storm, albeit a cute one.
In The Illusionist, by Sylvain Chomet, there's only one bed in the room that Tatischeff and Alice stay in. Tatischeff opts to sleep on the sofa.
The Professional (International Cut). After Léon turns down the Fille Fatale Mathilda's offer to sleep with him, Mathilda insists that at the very least he share the bed with her and not sleep on the couch. Leon is justly cautious, but nothing untoward happens.
The movie Leap Year has one of these scenes, although it makes sense as the pair are staying in a religious bed and breakfast and are pretending to be married in order to wait out a storm there. Funny because at first Declan gets the bed (after tricking Anna in a coin toss) and then Anna gets the bed (after realizing she's been tricked like ten minutes later) and then Anna takes pity on Declan for having to sleep in the shower. They wake up to realize they've been snuggling.
The Proposal: Because the family thinks that they're engaged, they are given a room with only one bed. It goes without saying, in-universe, that Andrew takes the floor.
In Far and Away, when Shannon loses everything, Joseph and Shannon have to take up rent in a whorehouse for a long time. There's only one bed, which she gets, of course. However, after an arguement their first day there, he uses her pillow for the night and fluffs it up a little just to annoy her.
Shannon: Give me back my pillow.
Joseph: Not in a hundred years.
In Superman II when Lois and Clark are trying to bust a honeymoon racket in Niagra Falls, Clark points out various "complimentary" things in their room (complimentary champagne, complimentary corsage) before trying to be suave (and failing spectacularly) and asking Lois about the "sleeping arrangements".
Lois: Mr. Smith...The complimentary couch.
In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, at one point Harmony takes Harry's bed (naked no less) and says that Harry can sleep in it too but it would only be sleeping, as long as that isn't too frustrating for him. He decides to find out. It is.
Happens in Gozu. The hero leaves the hotel bed to his love interest, but not without getting a good look at her in her undies.
North by Northwest - Roger hides out in Eve's room on a train ride to Chicago. As they make out passionately he observes there's only one bed, asking if she knows what that means. She knows - he's sleeping on the floor.
Lolita (1997). Humbert arranges for him and Dolores to stay in the same hotel room, as he's planning on taking advantage of her while she's asleep. When they arrive at the hotel, Humbert finds that the twin bed room has been given to someone else. Ironically Dolores is more comfortable with the sexual implications of this than he is.
Humbert: For all practical purposes I am your father and I'm responsible for your welfare. Now we're not rich, and so when we travel we-we may be thrown together... sometimes. Two people sharing the same hotel room are bound to enter into a...well how can I put it, into a kind of—
Dolores: The word is incest.
In The Wolverine, Logan and Mariko are on the run from Yakuza thugs when Logan suddenly declares they'll hold up in the nearest hotel. Unfortunately it turns out to be a love hotel and there aren't any empty rooms adjacent to each other. Mariko asks where he's going to sleep; Logan says curtly, "I won't" and stands outside in the rain, presumably his version of taking a cold shower.
In October Baby, Hannah and Jason check into a hotel, only to find out there's only one bed. Jason ends up on the floor, before they both leave the room to sleep on the couch in the lobby.
Moby-Dick has Ishmael and Queequeg forced to share a bed at the beginning, which starts the Ho Yay between them. It should be remembered, though, that it was common practice for guests to share beds in inns at the time. Queequeg got to sleep alone because he frightened everyone.
Similar to the above is the scene in Book of the New Sun where Severian manages to get a free bed in an inn on the condition that he share it with the two men who are currently staying there. (They haven't paid their bill for a couple of days, and Severian is a torturer by profession; he is by no means the sharpest knife in the box, but even he can figure out that he's serving as a human eviction notice.)
C. J. Cherryh's Morgaine Cycle has Morgaine and Vanye given a room with a single bed in the first book, Gate of Ivrel. Vanye offers to sleep on the floor, but Morgaine tells him not to be an idiot and waste the first comfortable bed they've had in ages. She puts the demon sword Changeling down the middle and tells him to deal with it.
In the Night Huntress novels, Cat wakes up in Bones' bed with him after she passes out. In an inversion, she ends up sleeping on the floor, since Bones doesn't see why he should have to give up his bed just because she's being silly.
On Wings of Eagles, the non-fiction novel by Ken Follet. Two of Ross Perot's men are flying back to the States after escaping from Iran. There's a huge bed in the luxury airliner, and figuring there's room enough to two, the black member of the team flakes out next to his companion who's already on it.
Happened in Lolita, just before the couple first had sex in a hotel at the beginning of their infamous road trip.
In Beachwalker, the female protagonist spends much of the book hiding a severely injured fugitive in the aftermath of an earthquake. There is only one bed, and there are some nights when it's too cold for her to sleep on the floor. Made even more awkward for her by the fact that he is wearing nothing but bandages and his underwear, since he's injured to the point of being barely able to move, and repeatedly dressing and undressing him would shift the bandages and aggravate his wounds.
In A Song of Ice and Fire, there's a famous legend about a knight who ran into this problem while escorting a lady and solved it by putting his sword down the middle of the bed. Nimble Dick tries to talk Brienne into a similar arrangement while they're traveling, but it's clear that he's just making fun of her and/or hitting on her.
Brienne however has no problem sharing a bed with her squire Podrick Payne, and it's not played for sexual tension at all as he's only twelve. Averted when Danys shares a bed with her handmaiden Irri, and eventually ends up having sex with her.
The French novel Le Père Goriot: Our social-climbing hero is invited by his very rich girlfriend to the apartment she intends to keep him in (he's currently staying in an extremely run-down hotel) and notes that there's only one bed. She starts blushing.
Harry Potter: Ron and Hermione see that there is only one couch in the room, but Ron takes the floor "in a fit of chivalry". When Harry sees them sleeping, they're still holding hands.
In the Jeeves and Wooster novel Thank You, Jeeves, one of these situations is involved in setting off the main conflict. Two of Bertie's friends, Pauline and Chuffy, are in love, but the former ends up at Bertie's cottage wanting to spend the night there before moving on to Chuffy's place in the morning (since she has just swum ashore from her father's yacht and doesn't want to show up at Chuffy's stately manor in the middle of the night in a swimsuit). There's no question of a gentleman like Bertie not surrendering the bed, and as the cottage has no other suitable furniture, he eventually retreats to a pile of sacking in a shed. Unfortunately, his unorthodox sleeping arrangements result in the local police mistaking him for drunk and summoning Chuffy to help him home. Chuffy therefore discovers his love interest in Bertie's bed, wearing Bertie's pajamas. Bertie is quick to establish that nothing actually happened, and Chuffy more-or-less accepts it, but the argument about it still causes Chuffy and Pauline to break off relations.
Bertie: What you want on an occasion like this, Chuffy, old man, is simple faith. The poet Tennyson tells us... Chuffy: Shut up. [...] Pauline: [angry] Oh! So that's what you think? Chuffy: I don't think anything of the kind. I know that Bertie has been... Bertie: [suggesting] Scrupulously correct in his behaviour throughout. Chuffy: ...sleeping in a potting shed. That's not the point.
Noah and Joy are forced to do this in Las Vegas in Back When You Were Easier To Love.
In Doctor Who, "The Shakespeare Code", the Doctor and Martha end up in a room with only a double bed, which they have to share. The Doctor doesn't see anything risque about this, but Martha finds it an excuse to flirt...which the Doctor in obliviousness promptly ruins by lamenting about Rose.
In the mini-episode "Clara and the TARDIS", Clara finds her bedroom in the TARDIS has vanished. Numerous temporal duplicates of her then appeared, finished off by a pair of her flirtatiously saying that they have to share a bed.
In lonelygirl15, "Sleepover", Jonas and Bree wind up in a hotel with only a double bed. Jonas builds a "Great Wall of Jonas" out of pillows and sheets to separate the two of them, to reassure Daniel.
Bree: Are you uncomfortable? Jonas: I wasn't, but now I am, 'cause you're not.
iCarly: During iTake On Dingo, the trio+ Spencer share a 2 bed, tiny hotel room. The floor recently had a dead body on it, so I doubt anyone was sleeping on the floor. No matter who slept in what bed with who (although it's a good chance it was probably Sam+ Carly and Freddie+ Spencer), it would get shippers excited.
Morecambe and Wise in many of their sketches, only without a trace of embarrassment. They treated it as something perfectly normal, and as a result so did the audience.
Apparently Eric and Ernie objected to the original bed sketch precisely because of the Unfortunate Implications, but writer Eddie Braben convinced them on the grounds that their heroes Laurel and Hardy had done the same. Eric did, however, insist on smoking his pipe as a symbol of masculinity.
Referenced in a sketch on Goodness Gracious Me where a young man tries to explain to his parents that he is gay and a friend he brought home is actually his boyfriend. The parents are too oblivious to understand, and when he says he and his friend are sleeping together, his mother replies "Morecambe and Wise slept together!"
In addition to the aforementioned Seinfeld example, there was another episode where Kramer couldn't sleep in his apartment so he stays over at Jerry's. After lamenting that he can't fit on Jerry's couch, he, much to Jerry's annoyance, sleeps in Jerry's bed with him.
Scrubs: When Carla got pissed off at Turk in the second season premiere, he and JD had to share a bed. This leads to a conversation quite similar to the Seinfeld page quote. JD insists that they sleep head to toe. Turk claims it doesn't matter, as their genitals still line up, but JD says it makes it impossible for them to accidentally "lock in".
JD is so uncomfortable in this position, that he goes to sleep in his work clothes.
They compromise, though; she sleeps under the covers, he sleeps on top of the covers. This is followed by a hilarious moment wherein Steve, trying to prove that his intentions are pure, says "If I've had one single impure thought, may God strike me dead." Immediately there is a loud thunderclap, after which he concedes, "Well, maybe one."
Happened in the The 4400 episode "Life Interrupted" (the Happy Place episode) where Tom wakes up in an alternate reality where the 4400 were never abducted. The only person who is also aware of the change is a woman named Alana, who does not know him yet everyone claims they are married. When they turn in for the night, Tom suggests a number of alternate places for him to sleep yet Alana suggests they share the bed to keep up appearances and because "it's a large bed. We can maintain our sectors."
In one episode of The O.C. Seth, Summer, Ryan and Marissa stay in a hotel where there is only one bed. Seth and Summer wind up sharing the bed (the usual Double Standard of this trope being subverted when Summer demands Seth take the floor, but he refuses) and Ryan and Marissa share the couch. Marissa and Ryan wake up to discover they're spooning.
Seth:[at a breakfast place] Should we have just left them there like that? Summer:Oh, but they looked so cute! It would have been a shame to wake them.
In the first season episode "Angel," Buffy and Angel face this problem when Angel spends a night in Buffy's room. Buffy offers Angel her bed (because he's wounded) but he declines. Their first kiss occurs about 24 hours later.
In the seventh season episode "Showtime," Kennedy tries to engineer this in order to seduce Willow.
Hilariously averted in Angel "Rm w/a Vu" when Cordy turns up at the apartment of a shirtless, dripping wet Angel desperate for a place to stay — she talks right over Angel's objections and states he'll be the one sleeping on the sofa. The next day Angel is so desperate to get her out he agrees to fight a demon loan shark stalking Doyle if he finds Cordy a new apartment.
While being secretly ferreted behind enemy lines in the episode "Unification", Picard and Data are shacked up in a shared quarters with a single bunk, setting up this trope, but since Data is an android (and therefore doesn't need sleep), it never comes to pass. The awkwardness of the situation is still in effect, however, with Data creepily watching Picard sleep...
There's also the two times that Q decided to hop into bed with Picard. The first time, he does it to taunt and annoy Picard, but in the second, he pretends to be the woman Picard went to bed with the night before. There's no reason for him to do it, he just does, and after Picard gets over the shock of finding Q there, they have a civil conversation.
Oh, there was a reason for him to do it. But this being Q, the reason was because he could.
In one episode of Designing Women, Suzanne and Anthony share a motel room with only one bed. Initially, Anthony tries to sleep in the car (at Suzanne's insistence), but she relents after the temperature outside drops well below freezing.
Another episode ("Julia and Suzanne's Big Adventure") cranked the discomfort up further. The Sugarbaker sisters were stuck sharing a Japanese capsule hotel room (think very tiny, the entire floor being the size of a single bed) with a man they had only recently met. Suzanne complains about a hand resting against her breast, and the guy reflexively apologizes. Julia stops him, says it's her hand and she has literally nowhere else to place it, so Suzanne's just going to have to put up with it.
One episode of Genius has Dave Gorman and guest Johnny Vegas testing a "conveyor duvet" designed to prevent duvet hogging. The test of course leads to them both sharing a bed, and Hilarity Ensues. Link
There is an amusing example of this in Nobuta Wo Produce, when Akira unexpectedly arrives at Shuji's house for a sleepover. Despite Shuji's protest, Akira happily climbs into his bed, which is a single. Ho Yay Galore.
In an episode of General Hospital, Lucky and Elizabeth have to share a hotel room that only has one bed. As usual, Lucky decides to sleep on the floor, but then Elizabeth decides to sleep next to him...on the floor.
Silent Witness "Finding Rachel". A young female Australian backpacker with no cash convinces a reluctant Dr Cunningham to let her stay the night in his hotel room. The next day Professor Dalton turns up and draws the obvious conclusion. Cunningham indignantly replies that he slept on the floor and took a cold shower. A very cold shower.
In one episode, Tony and Ziva spend a few days in Paris and their room only has one bed. Tony tells a witness Ziva took the couch. Ziva tells McGee that Tony took the couch. By the end of the episode it is revealed they shared the bed.
Another example is when McGee and Abby are in Mexico and have to share a one-bed hotel room. The woman getting the bed is subverted when Abby sleeps in the room she is given for her class on solving cold cases after McGee uses tap water to brush his teeth.
The infamous "Ghost" episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has the fact that There Is Only One Bed in the safe room Alex is staying in, while Olivia is sleeping in the same room, ostensibly to protect her, has become a Fandom Specific Plot for the folks who ship them. This scene was deliberately written to Ship Tease, as the producers are very much aware of the Les Yay. As are the actresses, who, luckily, are friends in real life.
In an episode of The War At Home, Dave, Larry and Kenny stays in a motel room with only two beds. Dave ends up sleeping on the floor because he doesn't want Pet Homosexual Kenny sleeping with neither Larry nor himself.
Never actually shown on The Amazing Race, but frequently talked about, especially when teams spend the night in a remote location.
An episode of That Girl featured the lead, a young Marlo Thomas, and her boyfriend having to share a hotel room.
In The X-Files episode "Arcadia", Mulder and Scully go undercover as a married couple and have to deal with this. Mulder, of course, goes into innuendo overdrive, but it's more played for laughs than anything else and he ends up sleeping on the couch anyway.
"Rain King": Mulder and Scully investigate a series of weird weather conditions. A tornado happens to crash a cow into Mulder's motel room. All the motel rooms are booked and since everybody assumes the agents are boyfriend and girlfriend, the motel manager just informs Scully that they moved Mulder's stuff into her room. Scully insists that they are partners and prefer separate rooms but she didn't have much of a choice apparently. However, there was no scene of them being in Scully's room together.
In Chuck, Chuck and Sarah go on the run at the end of season two, they end up staying in a motel with only one bed, which they share after Sarah refuses to let him sleep on the floor. This very nearly leads to them consummating their relationship. Lampshaded when they are discussing how they're going to be locked up together because they broke the law, and Chuck mentions them sharing a two-bedroom cell. Sarah points they'll only need one bed.
In My Name Is Earl the reason Earl and Randy share a bed is because the motel rooms with twin beds don't have a pool view (and are above a meth lab) so it's either not have a pool view (and deal with the occasional bullet coming through the floor) or share a bed.
Happens in Lois and Clark when the two are pretending to be married (in a hotel for honeymooners, no less!) in order to get a scoop. Lois forces Clark to take the couch.
The episode of Frasier where owing to overbooking, Frasier and Ros end up sharing a hotel room with only one bed. Just as they are reconciling themselves to sharing the bed, their boss turns up, also roomless... Ros gets the bed, Frasier the couch, snoring boss gets a nest of cushions on the floor.
A variant in The Big Bang Theory. The arrangements are Amy and Penny in a double, Bernadette and Howard (a couple) in a single, Raj in a single, and Leonard and Sheldon in a double. Which works until Bernadette and Howard have a fight leading Bernadette to take Penny's bed and Penny to have no choice but to climb into Amy's bed. Amy suffers from extreme night terrors (and bites), leading Penny to enter Leonard, her ex's, room. She can't climb into bed with Sheldon because with all of his quirks he'd end up killing her, so Leonard and Penny awkwardly share a bed. Sheldon leaves for Raj's room because "Penny and Leonard may or may not be having coitus". After Sheldon leaves Penny gets his bed to herself, but after talking with Leonard they decide they actually DO want to share a bed and be intimate with each other for the night. Except Sheldon's quirks drive Raj out of his room, leading to Raj hopping into the adjacent bed and Leonard and Penny sharing a bed being platonic (much to Leonard's chagrin).
In Scarecrow and Mrs. King first season episode Weekend, Lee and Amanda are sent to a resort as a married couple. After giving Amanda a hard time about junior agents have to take the couch, Lee explains he will be staking out the room of a potential kidanpping target all night.
In Season 2 Luther has to bring a teenaged prostitute back to his apartment after she's threatened by gangsters. He's had a very long day, and tells her that he'll bring in a second bed tomorrow but tonight she's sleeping on the couch. After she makes a cup of tea she comes out of the kitchen to find Luther sleeping on the couch instead.
An episode of Happy Days in which Joanie and Chachi check into a motel, only to discover that the only room available in the honeymoon suite. Chachi suggests they can share the bed if they keep one foot on the floor, like in the movies. Then Fonzie turns up and assumes the worst.
Chachi: We asked for seperate rooms!
Fonzie: Tell me another one!
Chachi: We kept one foot on the floor!
Fonzie: I was kidding about telling me another one!
Cliff: Besides, I've only got one narrow bed. Sally: We'll think of something.
A throwaway line in Henry V mentions that Lord Scrope had shared a bed with the King when they were boyhood friends. (Evidently, in fifteenth-century England, it was the boys rather than the girls that had sleepover parties.) This makes it all the more shocking that Scrope has taken bribes from the French to assassinate the King.
A plot point in Othello: for a while, Iago shares a bed with Cassio. He lies to Othello, claiming that Cassio fondled him in his sleep while calling him "Desdemona".
Peter Pan: In the Lost Boy's "Home Under the Ground", all the boys share a bed except for Michael, who has his own cradle. That's eight boys sleeping in the same bed. This detail appears in the book as well, but it was probably originally added for the purpose of comic stage business: stage directions indicate that Wendy won't let them turn over in bed unless a signal is given, at which point they all turn over at once.
Sheer Luck Holmes. Dr. Watson indignantly retorts, "But Holmes, we're both males!" when forced into this situation with Sherlock Holmes. Bromance jokes aside, as it's a pantomime Watson's part is usually played by a woman.
Grim Grimoire has Lillet Blan more or less kidnapping/adopting/eloping with Amoretta Virgine the Homunculus, not least because she's grown quite fond of Amoretta, but more immediately to make sure she's safe. (This is a very real concern, considering what happened to her in previous time-loops, sometimes of her own choice.) However, Lillet has only one bed. Neither of them mind, however — Amoretta has only existed for 106 days, and has not had physical affection of any kind. She thus really enjoys snuggling, and is apparently so vigorous about it that, in her sleep, she knocks Lillet out of bed more than once. Lillet doesn't mind that either, but she does (in an amusing inversion) threaten to exileherselfto the couch and leave Amoretta in the bed alone if Amoretta doesn't keep safe.
Happens in Tales of Phantasia when Cless and Mint first arrive in the past. They're both embarrassed by the situation, and it ends with Cless sleeping on the floor.
Happens in Shenmue II, when Ryo is invited to stay with Master Tao (Xiuying). He's quick to point out that she has only one bed, and she's even quicker in pointing out that he'll be taking the couch.
Happens in Legaia 2 Duel Sage, due to one of the inn's rooms having a broken door, forcing Maya and Laang to sleep together. The player can have Laang either be bashful about sleeping with Maya, or have him jump at the chance.
Happens in the Neverwinter Nights 2 parody mod The Sinister Series, where an initial sign that Cordelia is warming up to the player is her insistence that he take the bed because she had been cold, rude, and standoffish since the two first met.
A Namir Deiter storyline puts Tipper and Charles into this predicament, even though they've gone to a couples resort, engaged and in the midst of wedding preparations.
In Misfile,guy-turned-girl Ash insists on giving up his bed for Emily to prove he is a chivalrous guy. She finds his Porn Stash under the bed, also gender swapped. Emily returns the favor a few strips later by inviting Ash for a sleep over and insisting Ash take the bed, since he's the guest.
This kind of leads to a bit of Fridge Logic when you remember Ash's dad is out of town at the time and so Emily could've very well slept in his room. Though between the Porn Stash and the sheets thing, this can be excused by Rule of Funny.
The situation comes up again in the fanfic Misfiled Dreams, where a blizzard knocks out Ash's power and Ash and Rumi are more or less forced to spend the night at Emily's. Em gives Rumi her sleeping bag, and since it's too cold for anyone to sleep on the floor, she and Ash share her bed. The above-mentioned Fridge Logic is circumvented by Emily saying that her mom (away at the time) would kill her if anyone slept in the master bedroom. Yes, it does go somewhere, but if you want to know where, you'll have to read the story.
Used here in Wapsi Square with two characters who have known each other since grade school.
During the "trip to E3" story arc in Full Frontal Nerdity, the hotel room had two beds ... but three occupants (not counting Shawn the webcam). Nelson solved the problem by scamming three large bags of promotional stress balls and piling them into a "bed" for Lewis.
Subverted every which way in Girly. At first, Winter doesn't need a bed, since she's willing to sleep standing up in Girly's front yard (yep). But on the second night, its raining, so Winter agrees to come inside and take the couch...but an elephant wanders into the scene and eats the couch, leaving only the one bed.
Dangerously Chloe skips right to the result, on the chapter page under the technically true title "Demon In Bed". Of course. Because she was summoned and obviously had no other place to stop.
The Fox Sister: Alex insists on Yun Hee taking the bed while he sleeps on the floor when he invites her to stay at his place after the Kumiho turned her home into a crime scene.
On The Ricky Gervais Show, Karl talks about having to sleep "tops and tails" with his longtime girlfriend Suzanne. Why? Because the relatives they were staying with had hacksawed a mattress in half to fit in into the tiny space where they were sleeping.
Double subverted in the Julian Smith music video "Nice Hotel", in which the two guests in the hotel room realise there is only one bed, but choose to flip a coin to decide who can have the bed to themselves. Unfortunately, the coin lands on its side, and they must both share as a result. "But it's okay, 'cause [they're] not telling. Anyone."
Somewhat adverted in The Flintstones, with the Rubbles staying at Fred's house for a few nights. The women sleep in the double bed without comment, but Fred and Barney keep quibbling over who gets the couch and who has to struggle lying across two side chairs.
In an episode of Liberty's Kids, John Adams and Ben Franklin share a bed in an inn.
Truth in Television, on one Congressional trip (and not particularly unusual for men travelling together in that era). Led to an argument about whether the window should be opened or closed. (And this scene was supposed to appear in the musical 1776, but got cut for time and pacing issues)
Several Looney Tunes cartoons did this with Porky and Daffy as a comedic setup. In one, they were business partners who roomed together, and in another, they were strangers at a packed hotel.
Rarity and Applejack are forced to share a bed in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Look Before You Sleep. It's not ten seconds before they're kicking each other out of bed, stealing the sheets and engaging in hilariously childish bickering.
In the episode "Haunted House" of The Alvin Show, Dave and the Chipmunks have to share a bed since "Chesley Estate" only had one bed.
In episode 19 of Sym-Bionic Titan, in the second motel that Lance and Ilana stay in, the room only appears to have one bed. However Word of God says that the most they see each other is Brother and Sister.
In an early King of the Hill episode, Luanne angrily leaves the Hill home and stays at Boomhauer's. Knowing his reputation she nervously, haltingly lays down some ground rules, but as she's talking, he quietly gets some pillows and blankets, drops them on the couch, walks into his bedroom and shuts the door behind him.
Happens frequently at conventions due to how expensive hotel rooms can be.
The tradition of bundling. Sometimes it'd get really cold, and the couples would get together all warm and cozy, and sometimes there were ...babies!
This scenario is often encountered in real life, in general. Some people choose to sleep on the floor rather than share a bed, though. Also, back in the old days, entire families would often sleep in the same bed, because beds and the soft stuff that goes on them were expensive and rare but also for the sake of not freezing to death in the night.
Similarly some kings managed to get beds large enough to allow over a hundred people to sleep together. And apparently put them to use that way. To sleep, you know, not just...
It was general practice in inns and such for quite a long time, too. Again, expense of beds and linens, and also of building and maintaining an inn large enough for everyone to have his own room.
This was (and is) also common practice among Eskimo tribes, being that the alternative to cuddling up with a family member was freezing to death. Having two separate beds in an igloo would be impractical, and having two igloos for two people would be even more impractical.