Eric is a nice guy at heart. He is also generally geeky, weak, and somewhat clumsy. He is a smart-aleck teenager with a lightning-fast wit and a sarcastic and deadpan sense of humor.
Eric is often picked on for his slight stature and other characters have likened him to "Opie" (for the character Opie Taylor, from The Andy Griffith Show), and Archie Bunker. Other unfortunate nick names include "Foreplay", "Foreskin", and "Zitty Stardust" (in reference to him being unable to take a zit-free yearbook photo).
His girlfriend Donna is physically stronger than him, a fact which is cause for many jokes by all who know them. Eric has even compared himself to the Cowardly Lion in having "no courage", even as he compared Hyde to the Tinman with no heart, and Kelso to the Scarecrow with no brains.
Though physically weak, Eric can show a surprising amount of spine and even physical powers when necessary. When incensed enough he will stand up to anyone, even his father, at which moments he can be surprisingly eloquent. He stood up to Red when he was troubled at Kitty's apparent pregnancy and told him to be a man for her and stood up against both of his parents in his insistence on marrying Donna, despite their repeated attempts to stop him. He threatened Casey Kelso with serious injury if he hurt Donna, and even defended his father when he broke the nose of another teen who informed him that Red will eventually lose his job at the auto parts plant. He also beat a Green Bay Packers fan up during a game, after he insulted Eric for wearing a Chicago Bears jersey and Red. This made his father proud enough to compliment that his son had the "Forman Rage".
Eric is best friend of rebel Steven Hyde. When Hyde's mother left town at the end of the first season, Eric tried to persuade his parents to do something about his best friends living conditions and thus Hyde was invited to live with the Formans, which he does for most of the series.
Eric is a well-know fan of sci-fi, such as Star Trek and especially when it comes to Star Wars, which is cause for much ridicule at the hands of his exasperated family and friends. He is known to keep a collection of Star Wars models and figurines. He is also known to have a large, beloved collection of G.I. Joe. He likes bands such as Led Zeppelin, KISS, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Styx and Rush. He is also a Beatles fan and has been known to liken his group of friends to them, accusing Jackie of "breaking up the band" with her romantic entanglements with Kelso and Hyde. It is also hinted that he is a Spider-Man fan, having Spider-Man bedsheets and a considerable amount of comic books, most of them bearing the Marvel Comics logo with the titular character on the covers, and when he fought a fan at the Packers game, he tells Red that he learned his moves from Spider-Man (coincidentally, Topher Grace starred in Spider-Man 3 in 2007).
Eric has had many typical teen-age jobs over the series. He has worked at the fictional Fatso Burger, Price Mart, a dog food factory, and at the Holiday Hotel as a waiter. At the beginning of the series, Red vehemently opposed Eric's trying to get another job during the second season citing that it would interfere with his school work and make it harder for him to get into a good college far away, and Kitty supported Red by designating Eric's job as being her "precious baby boy". In season seven he was much ridiculed by his parents when he took a year off from school and work to contemplate his future and enjoy being lazy.
Eric is usually very supportive of his friends, even though it is not always reciprocal. On several occasions when the gang found themselves in a predicament as the result of a prank gone awry or some other unforeseen circumstance, the rest of the group take off, leaving Eric to absorb the brunt of the trouble, after which the gang (particularly Hyde) hassle and tease Eric for getting into trouble (as in Stolen Car, Eric Gets Suspended, Eric's Hot Cousin and Rip This Joint). This has much to do with Eric's trusting nature and indicates that what he lacks in physical strength he more than makes up for in strength of character. His less morally-inclined friends are quick to take advantage of this and also take it for granted, however Eric is also quick to stand up for himself to them and set things straight whenever he feels wronged by his friends' actions.
Relationship with Family
Eric's relationship with his parents centers around his trying to prove his maturity and independence to them. Eric's father Red is a well-known authoritarian and often refers to Eric as "dumbass" and frequently threatens 'to put his foot in Eric's ass.' Red finds Eric lacking qualities he feels a grown man should possess including physical strength, sportsmanship, and interest in manly pursuits like hunting, fishing, etc. Oddly, Eric is in many ways a younger version of his father. Both display a dry sense of humor and tend to be the sanest people in their circle of friends.
Eric's mother Kitty typically supports Eric against Red and often scolds Red for being too hard on Eric. However, she also does not consider Eric to be a man and often refers to him as her "precious baby boy." Eric appreciates his mom's support but her overblown displays of affection often leave him feeling embarrassed. At times, Kitty's love for Eric borders on Hitchcock-ian. His mother is often insecure about being replaced by Donna as the woman in Eric's life. Their rivalry is played up in many episodes (often comically, but sometimes to the point of it being a problem). In theory, she's okay with a sexual relationship between Donna and Eric, even pressing the two to discuss it with her, but in reality she goes into a depression after learning that Eric and Donna had sex and considers Donna a harlot who stole her baby boy away from her. Eric assured Kitty he would always need her because, "Dad's going to be riding my ass for the rest of my life!"
After Eric disobeys his parents' orders not to go forward with his marriage to Donna, Red finally deems is Eric a man and offers his blessing while a devastated Kitty turns on Red for allowing her "precious baby boy" to get married.
Eric's relationship with his older sister Laurie is based on mutual ridicule and compliment or more ridicule based on the execution and content of their mutual mockery. Eric continually rides his sister for being a whore while she chides him for being weak and less favored by their father.
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