I noticed a lot of what you were talking about.
We did't seem to spend much time at top speed. But, coming from a place where there are no high speed trains, it is still impressive to us. I'm pretty sure they have some high speed trains along the east coast of the US, but there really isn't anything here in the southwest.
Of course, after we got on that one city train and had to stop every five seconds, we upgraded to TGV or Eurostar every chance we got. In Italy with a Eurail pass, the Eurostar upgrade was 15 Euro per person, but they did give you some free drinks and snacks. In France it was 5 Euro per person but nothing free.