- „Mom please, I haven't shenaniganned in about six years. I've hooliganned, I've no-good-nicked, I've ne'er-done-well, just yesterday I found myself rabble-rousing...”
- —Eric's wit[src]
Eric is the youngest child in a family of four, consiting of his strict, war-vetran father, Red Forman, his doting mother with impending separation anxiety, Kitty Forman, and his promiscous, troublesome older sister, Laurie Forman. He also becomes the foster brother to his best friend, Steven Hyde, after Hyde had been abandoned by his own mother.
Eric is the front-man and ringleader of the circus, but is rarely respected. He is the one who comes up with the plans and schemes, often trying to break free of his "square goody-goody rep." But such plans often do backfire in one way or the other. He is often left holding the bag (his friends abandon him) and he is then ridiculed by them for getting in trouble. Eric is a nice guy at heart, who is geeky and somewhat clumsy. He is a smart-aleck teenager, with a lightning-fast wit and a sarcastic, deadpan sense of humor. He is also quite brave and somewhat scrappy.
Eric is often picked on for his slight stature and is likened to "Opie" (for the character Opie Taylor, from The Andy Griffith Show), and Archie Bunker by his friends. Unfortunate nicknames include "Foreplay" (by Casey Kelso), "Foreskin" (by Donna), and "Zitty Stardust" (in reference to him being unable to take a zit-free yearbook photo). His girlfriend Donna is physically stronger than him (and everyone else in the group, really---except for Randy).
However, when incensed enough, Eric will stand up to anyone, even his father, whom he tells off when Red handles Kitty's apparent pregnancy badly – Eric tells Red to be a man for her. He stands up to both of his parents in his insistence on marrying Donna, despite their repeated attempts to stop him. He threatens Casey Kelso with serious injury if he hurt Donna, and even defends his father by breaking another teen's nose, when the latter says that Red "should have been smart and planned ahead, like my dad". Eric also beats a Green Bay Packers fan up during a game, after he insults Eric for wearing a Chicago Bears jersey, which has Red proudly comment that his son has the "Forman Rage".
Eric is a well-known 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 G.I. Joe collection. 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 father when he took a year off from school and work to contemplate his future and enjoy being lazy. Eric enjoyed this being another one of many thorns in Red's side.
Eric is usually very supportive of his friends, even though it is usually not 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 and courage, he more than makes up for in strength of character. Eric however, has been known to get his revenge on his backstabbing friends from time to time, such as when Kelso took the gang on a Dine and Dash without telling them, and eventually stranding Donna and Eric alone.
They garnered revenge by making some "Special Brownies" which the group occasionally enjoyed, however in this case, Eric had made them with laxatives. This was a huge hindrance for Fez, whose girlfriend had arrived to make amends just as he ran for the bathroom. At times, however, Eric's friends will come to his aid when he is truly at the end of his rope. 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.
Eric is the best friend and foster brother 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 friend's living conditions and thus Hyde was invited to live with the Formans, which he does for most of the series. And when Red was quick to throw Hyde out after an arrest for possession, Eric actually attempts to come to his rescue.
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 "boy". He 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 Hitchcockian. 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 is 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!"
When Eric tells his parents about his plan to teach in Africa for a year, his mother is less than thrilled. This is most notably, and comically presented when, the morning after his announcement, Kitty fixes everyone at the breakfast table a smiley-face breakfast with eggs and bacon and then hands Eric a plain pancake with, "nothing smiling up at you, nothing." Even with a couple days before his departure, Kitty reveals that she hid mailed notifications that Eric must receive certain vaccinations before his departure. Eric protests his mom's actions but she still tries to dissuade hims stating that the needles used for the vaccinations are really large and will hurt a lot. After Eric disobeys his parents' orders not to go forward with his marriage to Donna, Red finally deems 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. On several occasions, Eric and Laurie have tolerated each other and shown a brother-sister bond. When Eric saw his parents having sex, Laurie tried to comfort him, including hugging him and stroking his hand. In the middle of a fight between the two, Hyde tried to break it up, and the two teamed up on him, complimenting each others insults. Eric once even defended Laurie from Red. After discovering that Laurie moved out and was living with a man, Red started insulting her and pushing her away (now that he had to see her for what she was), to which Eric defended her saying that Red was being too hard on her. Laurie once told Eric and Donna to move away after they got married and even cried during her apology. Eric first had to taste the tear, and, deeming it legitimate, Eric replied "I have a sister!" and hugged her. She somewhat cleaned up her act, but then sunk back into her old patterns of screwing around.
- Main page: Jackie & Eric
Eric seems to dislike Jackie the most out of the gang. This is especially noted when, in an early episode, Red says to Eric that Jackie is his favorite out of his friends, and Eric points out that she is not one of his friends. Jackie is generally demeaning towards Eric due to his effeminate qualities and physical weakness, and believes him to be unworthy of Donna (despite the fact that she does not think much of Donna either), leading to his dislike of her. In the episode "Time is on my Side", Eric is about to fall off the water tower, Jackie refuses to help him, saying "Eww, you touched Pee-tos". (Fez had early found Cheetos in the woods and said they felt damp and Kelso jumped to the conclusion that something peed on them.)
However, as the series progresses, it is shown that they develop a tolerance for and eventually a friendship with each other. As early as season 2, after Jackie breaks up with Michael Kelso, Eric stands up to comfort her. Eric is the first person Jackie told when she suspected she was pregnant in the first season, and they have been known to occasionally help each other out. In the episode "Jackie's Cheese Squeeze," Eric admits that they are "friends," as long as they do not refer to each other as such in public, and in the season 7 finale, Jackie calls Eric from Chicago and admits that she is always cared for him and considers him a good friend.
- Main page: Eric & Donna
Throughout the series Eric had one steady girlfriend – Donna. They have been on and off throughout the series but for the most time they are together. In almost every episode Eric somehow makes a mess in his relationships with Donna, then makes it worse and near the end of the episodes wins back her heart. Eric even cared for Donna throughout Season 4 when they broke up and when she ran away to California. Later he proved his love to Donna in the beginning of season 5 when he went to California to bring her back. Later that season he proposes to Donna with the idea of a secret marriage which later became known to everyone. Eric later breaks off the engagement in fear that he is holding Donna back and that she will leave him. He later comes back to talk to Donna in the middle of the night and she decides to forgive him and they just return to a regular relationship. When Eric left to Africa in the end of season 7 he and Donna grew apart. He came back in the series finale and the two shared a kiss. Eric made peace with her and wished her luck as she was about to start college.
Never given a proper name, Eric dated her, presumably following Penny's visit and before he had a fling with cheerleader Leslie Cannon. He never told Donna about her, but she learns the truth later on from Eric's nemesis Mitch Miller.
Laurie's friend from college who wanted to have a little fun with Eric. They kissed and Donna got really upset about it.
Shelley is Eric's lab partner and hits on him. Eric is hurt that Donna is not jealous and eventually Shelley kisses him.
Eric tells girls at Hyde's party of his break-up and Katie flirts with him, ending up offering Eric her number which he gladly accepts.
At the Price Mart ball, Eric and Connie dance and kiss, making Donna furiously jealous. Eric gets her number, which Donna smudges so he can not use it.
Stacey is a new Price Mart cashier whom Red tries to set Eric up with. Alas, it turns out that Stacey has a crush on Red.
After telling Eric she is adopted, Eric and Penny flirt until it's revealed that she was getting back at him for being mean to her when they were kids.
A popular cheerleader who takes an interest in Eric because of Red's corvette and Eric pretends it is his.
- „There were a lot of Amish people, but they never raised a barn”
- —To Kelso regarding his 'problem'[src]
- Hyde – What can I say, man? She's hot
- Eric – No, you only think she's hot because she's made of hellfire
- ―Discussing Jackie[src]
- „Let me love you, orphan boy!”
- —Eric to Hyde[src]
- Eric is based on the teenaged years of series creator Mark Brazill.
- Eric Forman's birthday has been a major inconsistency on the series.
- The second episode of the first season, "Eric's Birthday", takes place on May 18th, 1976 (a day after the pilot) and Eric is turning 17, making his birthday May 18th, 1959. In the same episode, Donna reveals she is only one month older than Eric, placing her birthday in April.
- However, after season 1, the show was on a floating timeline; for everyone one year in the show, two of each holiday would pass (Holiday specials were made every year in the real world for audience enjoyment). In the beginning of the series, Hyde is supposedly younger than Eric, but, in the season 4 episode "Hyde's Birthday" (set in November, 1977), Hyde is turning 18 while Eric is still 17, revealing Eric's birth year to be 1960.
- In Season 5's "I Can't Quit You Babe", Eric states his birthday is in March, but this could be false, seeing as Eric was making various other remarks while under the influence.
- In Season 6's "Magic Bus", Eric turns 18 a month after graduation, which would set his birthday in July of 1960.
- In season 8's "Good Company", Donna celebrates her 19th birthday and it is a month after Kitty's (whose birthday is in January) and, as stated in season 1, a month before Eric's, confirming his birthday is in March and hers is in Febrary. In the same episode, Kitty talks with her easy friend, Marsha Sullivan, about how Marsha is dating a 19-year old, to which Kitty reveals that Eric is also 19 (as of 1979), confirming that he was born in 1960.
- On the official That '70s Show website, it states that Eric is a Pisces, which would conclude that Eric's birthday is, in fact, in March. With the information of Eric's original birthdate, Eric's birthday is March 5, 1960.
- Eric is afraid of rats as seen in "The Best Christmas Ever", and afraid of spiders, as seen in "Young Man Blues".
- When Eric was drunk he got a tattoo of Woodstock from the Peanuts franchise on his butt, done by Leo, as seen in "Eric's Drunken Tattoo".
- Revealed in the episode "We're Not Gonna Take It", the Formans live at 416 Marie Drive, Point Place, Wisconsin (the original package reads 5678, but the numbers 416 are seen on exterior shots of the porch).
- Eric's home phone number is revealed to be [tel:987-412-5856] when Red dials it after selling a Mix-Master™ blender in "Eric's Buddy".
- Eric primarily wears green, as each character is assigned a different color to make them all stand out from one another.
- He has an obsession with Star Wars, as well as affection for Battlestar Galactica.
- He appears in 180 episodes.
- He had red hair for the first season or so (it was a wig), but later Topher Grace's real hair was cut into that particular style. However, when Grace had to cut his hair for movie roles, towards the beginning of season 6, 7, and 8, he had to wear a wig once more.
- In Street Fighting Man its reveals that Eric has the "Forman Rage".
- Eric is the first character to say "dumbass" in "Eric's Burger Job".