If you haven't seen Netflix's newest coming-of-age show, Sex Education — which revolves around the sexual awakening of a group of teenagers — you're totally missing out. The story focuses on Otis (Asa Butterfield), who is not only sexually green, but also hates masturbation.
However, he gets reasonable guidance on the topic from his mum, Jean (Gillian Anderson), a sex therapist. Eventually, Otis decides to use the knowledge he's gleaned from his mum to become a therapist for his sexually confused classmates.
While Otis is a fantastic character, his best friend, the British-Nigerian Eric Effiong, is the show's biggest draw. Played by British-Rwandan actor, Ncuti Gatwa, Eric is a funny, enthusiastic, kind, openly gay teen, who is really just trying to live his very best life.
By making him out and proud, the show moved beyond the usual coming-out story to explore something more nuanced. Over the course of the series, Eric genuinely grapples with finding his place in the world, the way many young people have to, making us really relate to him.
Ncuti Gatwa plays Eric with a sincerity and honesty that made him a clear and immediate standout. Instead of being just the show's comic relief, he ends up being one of the most fully formed Nigerian characters we've ever seen on TV.
Speaking about the character, Ncuti says:
"I think the lessons you can get from this show is that everyone’s sexual journey is different, and to stick to whatever path is truest for you.
We live in a time where everyone is comparing themselves to everyone else, and social media definitely plays a major part in that, but mostly the people you’re seeing on social media are only showing you a glossed, filtered, manicured version of their life."
Eric is strong and very adaptable. Eric is rounded and he is multifaceted: openly gay, from a religious family, black with a Nigerian background, and he doesn't have unreal affectations. The character could quite literally be any of us, and that is a huge positive.
Watch the trailer for Sex Education below: