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17 Reasons Why Eric From "Sex Education" Is The Most Iconic Character In History

“Wash your hands you detty pig!”

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably impatiently waiting for Eric and the rest of Moordale High to return to your screens for the third season of Sex Education.

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Well, at last night’s BAFTA TV Awards, Ncuti Gatwa, who plays Eric Effiong, revealed that we’re set to see more of the universally adored character’s culture and family in the upcoming season.

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So, what better time to have a look back at some of the reasons why Eric is oh so iconic!

1. He is unapologetically himself.

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Eric Effiong gives off more main character energy than the actual main character in Sex Education. One of the many reasons why he is so legendary is because he is 100% himself at all times, and unapologetically so. He's a Black and openly gay teen who wholeheartedly celebrates those parts of his identity, and we love to see it.

2. He doesn't fall into the stereotypical gay best friend tropes.

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Eric is Otis Milburn’s bestie and thankfully, he doesn’t embody any of the gay best friend or Black side character tropes that we see so often. I would even go as far as to say that he is one of the most nuanced characterisations of a gay Black teen in British television history! His identity is complex and multi-dimensional, offering far more than just ~sass~ to the series. 

3. He is clearly the funniest character in the show.

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Eric has the unique ability to make light of every situation, largely due to his phenomenal sense of humour and quick wit. His one-liners literally carry the show and he doesn’t hold back. From poking fun at Otis’ many fashion faux pas to joking about the school's STI outbreak, there’s never a dull moment with him around. 

4. And his facial expressions speak a thousand words.

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If no filter was a person, it would be Eric Effiong. His face says it all and it’s one of the many reasons why we love him. 

5. He’s a great friend to Otis...

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I think it’s safe to say we could all use a friend like Eric. Whenever Otis needs cheering up, a confidence boost, or even just a shoulder to cry on, his best friend always knows exactly what to say. Eric is as loyal as they come and Otis is lucky to have him. 

6. ...And he's brutally honest, 24/7.

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You can certainly count on Eric for his honesty. Instead of sugar coating or skirting around the truth like so many other characters, Eric isn’t afraid to call anyone out on their BS if need be. And even though Otis and Jean are the sex therapists in the show, he gives some pretty sound advice, too. 

7. He is the king of code switching.

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Code switching is a fundamental part of the Black British experience and Eric demonstrates this perfectly. He has both Ghanaian and Nigerian heritage and frequently weaves colloquialisms from back home into his everyday conversations. Every time he said “Jesus is Lord,'' or “Oga,'' or simply slipped into a West African accent, we had no choice but to stan. 

8. His fashion sense is unrivalled.

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Eric is known for his flamboyant and extravagant personality and that is certainly reflected in his attire. Think bold colours, loud patterns, and incredible statement pieces. He also constantly pushes the boundaries between masculinity and femininity and even dabbles in drag from time to time! Let’s face it, he looks sensational in pretty much everything he puts on and is easily the best-dressed student at Moordale High. 

9. His prom outfit stole the show...

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Season one concluded with the high school dance, and saw everyone dressed to the nines, including Eric. His prom outfit definitely deserved some air time, a round of applause, and maybe even a moment of silence because it was simply breathtaking. He wore a gorgeous suit made out of traditional Ghanaian cloth, as well as a regal headdress, and gold high heels. It’s safe to say that Eric ate and left absolutely no crumbs. 

10. ...As did this equally iconic orange monochrome look.

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Not many people can pull off fifty shades of orange but Eric Effiong is certainly one of the few that can. All of Eric’s outfits are extraordinary but the orange shirt, jacket, trousers, trainers, bandana, and hat combo just hit different. Monochrome is having its time in the sun right now and I think we all know who to thank for this trend...

11. He's overcome great adversity.

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While Eric offers us comedic relief throughout the series, he also experiences a great deal of adversity and trauma. In season one he is constantly bullied by Adam Groff and  also endures a brutal anti-gay attack on his birthday. Eric struggles with his identity following the incident – changing his appearance and questioning his faith altogether. However, he eventually manages to rise above and not let the horrific event dull his shine. 

12. And he stands up for himself.

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The relationship between Eric and his father is extremely complex. His dad is a religious West African man who doesn't fully understand his sexuality or personality. At the end of season one, he asks Eric why he is “different” and “so much”, to which he responds “This is me... Isn’t it better to be who I am?” Eric’s ability to stand up for himself and challenge those who don’t fully accept him is incredibly inspiring and one of the most important parts of his character.

13. He isn’t the smoothest when it comes to crushes.

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When French boy Rahim arrives on the scene, Eric completely loses his cool. For someone that spends the majority of his time mocking Otis for his lack of charisma, he has his fair share of awkward moments around guys. He may not be a smooth operator but he is definitely very relatable.

14. But he's not afraid to take risks in his love life.

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Eric’s relationship with Adam is complicated and by no means #CoupleGoals. Closeted-bully-turned-love-interest isn’t the fairytale any of us are really looking for. However, after Adam redeems himself with a public declaration of love for Eric in season two, Eric decides not to settle for something superficial with Rahim, and take a risk with Adam instead. You can’t blame a guy for following his heart! 

15. He is a man of many talents – including the French horn.

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Okay, he may not be the most musically gifted but he can carry a tune, which is pretty impressive. Eric is committed to playing the French Horn and attending Swing Band even though he’s not the best and I’m here for it. It’s the dedication for me. 

16. And he uses his sexual powers for good.

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Giving a detailed oral sex masterclass in the middle of a house party is king behaviour if you ask me. Eric may not be a sex therapist but he is more than happy to share his sexual knowledge with the masses, proving that not all heroes wear capes.

17. And finally, he delivered the most iconic line in television history.

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I rest my case.

What's your favourite Eric moment? Tell us in the comments!

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