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An ode to Sex Education's Eric, the greatest character on TV right now.

There’s so much to love about Sex Education.

There’s the way it tackles tough topics, like sexual assault, sexuality and teen sex, with empathy, compassion and just the right amount of humour. There’s cringeworthy awkward moments and plot twists. There’s the bizarre yet endearing fashion, and the way the show’s aesthetic of 80s-style clothing, vintage cars and modern technology makes precisely no sense. You guys, there’s even Gillian Anderson as a sex therapist.

But look, I just really need to talk about how much I love Eric Effiong.

Check out the trailer for the second season of Sex Education. Post continues below video.

Video via Netflix

Played by Ncuti Gatwa, Eric is one of the best characters on TV right now.

He is openly gay, and comes from a religious Ghanaian-Nigerian family. He also happens to be the best friend of main character Otis Milburn, but this is just one facet of his character.

In any other show, the writing of Eric could’ve run the risk of being typecast as the ‘gay best friend’, written with the purpose of helping to move on Otis’ story and offer occasional comedic relief.

But Sex Education is different. At a time when ‘diversity’ is being yelled from every rooftop, Sex Education is one of the greatest examples of how it should be done.

It’s racially and sexually diverse, has characters from different religions and features characters with a disability as well. Basically, it’s an accurate representation of the world we live in.

sex education cast
Image: Netflix.
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Most importantly, these characters are multidimensional and complex, each with their own story lines and layers. Even the main character's gay best friend.

Of course, the relationship between Eric and Otis is a major part of the show. It is the embodiment of what friendship should be: They're very different people, yet entirely supportive of one another, with the perfect balance of heartfelt conversations, light teasing and genuine affection (plus, they're totally willing to call each other out on their sh*t).

When Otis has (drunken) sex for the first time, Eric loudly celebrates. He's the first to tease his friend, but is also always trying to help - like when he invited Maeve to Otis' party. When Eric gets close to Adam, his former bully, Otis expresses his concern and looks out for his friend.

We absolutely need more relationships like this on our screens, but Sex Education also throws out tropes and provides Eric with plot points that include interesting stories independent of Otis.

In season one, there's a big emphasis on his family life, religion, heritage and how he briefly retreats from his bright, bold personality following a horrific homophobic attack. In season two, he wrestles with complicated relationships and falling in love.

"It's really nice to have a gay character, a black character, be at the forefront of this story on a show like this that has the reach it does on Netflix," Gatwa told IndieWire.

"It matters, I hope, that other little black boys round the world can be like -'Oh, Eric is like this, and it’s cool.' It's important that we allow different people to occupy these spaces. Eric is a driving force in his own story as well, which I’m really proud of."

A lot of the characters in Sex Education don't quite understand Eric. Eric knows that, but still he remains unapologetically, comfortably himself after rebuilding his self-love and identity following season one's attack: Bright, mismatched patterns, sequins and all.

And besides the fact he's an extremely important character in terms of representation, it really is just a joy to watch Eric.

I mean...

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eric sex education
Image: Netflix.
eric sex education
Image: Netflix.
eric sex education
Image: Netflix.
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eric sex education
Image: Netflix.

eric sex education
Image: Netflix.
ADVERTISEMENT
eric sex education
Image: Netflix.

Gatwa plays the character with such authenticity, including the slipping in and out of an Nigerian accent and the excitement whenever Eric learns of Otis' sexcapades (or lack there of).

He's always serving looks and providing the best lines on the show. Plus, he has the best laugh ever #fact.

We should all strive to find a friend like Eric, or better yet, we should all strive to be like Eric.

Kind, loyal, funny, honest and truly ourselves.

Eric's character is a significant inclusion on TV, and basically, in simple terms: Eric is a pure angel who we must protect at all costs.

You can watch both seasons of Sex Education on Netflix now. 

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