Quick Take With John McCook

Tell us your thoughts on what could be your most controversial story ever. “I love the story we’re telling, so I’m a very happy guy. What’s exciting about it is that it’s powerful subject matter but it’s very delicate at the same time. The definition of the word crisis is danger and opportunity, and I think that’s exactly what this storyline has been, and will continue to be, for me. This is a huge crisis for Eric — and for me as an actor. It’s dangerous to play but it’s a real opportunity, too.”

Were you nervous or wary about playing this story? First it was Eric facing ED, then encouraging his wife’s adultery. That’s heavy stuff. “Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer] called me into the office and asked me, ‘Would you feel comfortable doing a story about erectile dysfunction?’ I said, ‘Brad, whatever you want to write for me is my calling, and it’s my privilege to do. As long as Eric isn’t weak or pitiful about it, I will play it.’ Eric has quite a journey as this whole thing continues to play out.”

Explain why Eric gave his blessing to Quinn and Carter reconnecting. “I had to think about it. I don’t agree with that on a personal level but I thought, ‘How do I justify doing that for Eric?’ Eric is my old friend. I’ve known him for a long time and I’ve seen him through happy times and I’ve seen him make some poor decisions, or decisions I personally disagree with, and this is one of them. Is he doing the wrong thing for the right reason? That’s a question he’s grappling with. He loves Quinn so much that he wants to do this for her so she will stay with him, so he will not have to live in that house alone. That’s how I’ve been able to justify what Eric’s trying to do.”

How have your co-stars dealt with the material? “I’m very proud of the work that all three of us are doing. I watch the show every day and I see what Rena [Sofer, Quinn] and Lawrence [Saint-Victor, Carter] accomplish when they are together…. It’s been difficult for them to justify going ahead with this, as it’s been difficult for their characters, and I think all of that comes through, which is really a credit to them.”

What’s been your experience with the fan response? “Some are very complimentary and say, ‘You’re doing a great job,’ but some are very irate. They are having reactions to it in many different ways. I’ve been reticent to talk to anybody about the story because it can be so easily misrepresented. I just say, ‘Let’s watch and see what these people are saying to one another and what they really feel.’ ”

Would you call this one of your best storylines in your 34 years at B&B? “It’s certainly talked about a lot [laughs], and that’s always a good thing. I’m really glad for it. It’s not about being in a front-burner story. It’s about having a story that’s challenging and fulfilling, and all of us involved getting up to our necks in emotion.”