Bold & Beautiful Exclusive: John McCook Reveals the Young & Restless Story That Wasn’t Right for Eric Forrester
“He’s my friend, even if I don’t always agree with his decisions!”
When John McCook was first approached by Bold & Beautiful executive producer/headwriter Bradley Bell about the erectile dysfunction storyline which would lead Eric to push his wife into another man’s bed, he was all in… with one caveat. “I thought, ‘Well, I’ll play it, even though I disagree with it, as long as I know that in the end, Eric’s going to realize this wasn’t a very good idea!'”
Once it became clear that was the path down which the story would go, McCook was all-in. “The more difficult scenes are to play, the more fun work is. So I loved playing that story and trying to keep Eric as dignified as possible by playing him as frustrated and angry as opposed to ashamed or sad.”
He also appreciated the tone the show took when handling Eric’s condition. “Brad mentioned a story that had been done years ago on The Young and the Restless with Eric Braeden’s Victor,” McCook says. Longtime viewers of Bold & Beautiful‘s sister soap will recall that at one point, Victor became impotent after being shot in the groin with a spear gun. “That wound up going in a slightly more humorous direction, which we didn’t do. I suppose it did get a bit more comical when Donna and the honey entered the picture, but I tried to pull it back a little bit, because I didn’t want to treat this like a joke. It’s a very serious problem for many people.”
Ultimately, the controversial storyline proved extremely rewarding for McCook… and might prove even more so should he walk away with a Daytime Emmy. Because it was scenes in which Eric explained his behavior to Ridge which McCook wound up submitting on his reel. “It was a scene where Ridge was confronting Eric, saying what what he was doing was stupid,” shares the nominee. “And Eric finally said, ‘You think this is easy for me? I hope this never happens to you. I hate this! I don’t want to be in this house alone!”
A highlight of the episodes — one of which can be viewed below — was the actors with whom McCook shared them. “Any scene I get to play with Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) or Rena Sofer (Quinn) are good scenes,” he enthuses. “I’m always happy, because they are wonderful players to work with.
Eventually, of course, Eric realized that perhaps encouraging his wife to sleep with Carter wasn’t a particularly great idea. “I was gratified, frankly, that it had a resolution that I sort of approved of,” McCook admits. “Eric realized that he was taking the wrong approach, and that it wasn’t serving anybody very well.”
After 35 years of sharing the same headspace, the actor freely admits he’s very protective of his alter ego. “He’s my friend, even if I don’t always agree with his decisions!”
What does McCook have to say about each of the women with whom Eric’s been involved? We ran down the (rather extensive) list, and you might be surprised by his thoughts!
<p>“Eric and Stephanie fell in love when they were students at Northwestern,” says John McCook of <em>Bold & Beautiful</em>‘s original matriarch and patriarch. “She was a powerhouse, a get-things-done type of person, and together, they created this empire. As partners, they were unbeatable. But she lacked a softness, which time and again he would seek elsewhere.” </p>
<p>“During the first few weeks, the scripts established that there was a certain malaise in Eric and Stephanie’s relationship,” reflects McCook. “I thought malaise was a tropical fever! These were two people who loved one another but weren’t necessarily <em>in</em> love.” That would prove true to the very end of Stephanie’s life. </p>
<p>Brooke Logan may believe herself to be Ridge’s “destiny,” but that didn’t stop her from marrying his father! “In many ways, she was everything that Stephanie wasn’t,” suggests McCook. “She was beautiful and sweet and giving, and she needed him. That was so complimentary to what was missing from his life that she became the love of his life for a while. And clearly, he’s never stopped loving her. It’s just taken on a different form in recent years.” </p>
<p>“Eric and Stephanie would go their separate ways for various reasons,” says McCook. “Usually because he’d decided to stray again! But they wound up coming back together, because they knew that nothing was more important than the family they had created together.” Of course, that family also included children they’d created with other people, including Eric and Brooke’s son Rick (pictured). </p>
<p>Although they’d shared a pleasant flirtation years earlier, it wasn’t until after Stephanie’s death that Eric and Taylor got truly involved. “There was something lovely about them,” reflects McCook, “but it was clearly never going to work.” Not surprisingly, it was his affection for and defense of her longtime rival Brooke which ultimately doomed this pair. </p>
<p>“She was like a Ferrari with the top down,” laughs McCook of Brooke’s sister, Donna. “She was absolutely the midlife crisis that he needed. Sexy, younger and deliciously fun to be with. She was a poke in Stephanie’s eye in a way that Brooke wasn’t. She would say, ‘You’re just a horny old goat’ and he would reply, ‘Yeah, you got it!'” </p>
<p>“How could he not fall under Jackie’s spell?” muses McCook. “That accent alone would bring stronger men than Eric to their knees! They had an interesting relationship and would have gotten married had it not been for Felicia.” Stricken with cancer, Eric and Stephanie’s dying daughter begged her divorced parents to remarry… and then went into remission, leaving Jackie sitting on the sidelines. </p>
<p>“I can’t say exactly why Eric was attracted to Sheila,” admits McCook, “except that she was younger and she was a sexual being, and he was drawn to that. I mean, he’s very predictable in that way, I suppose. What bothered me was not so much that he was attracted to her but that everybody else saw that she was bad news, and he ignored that!”</p>
<p>“I have a huge blow-up of this photo in my dressing room,” reveals McCook with a smile as he fondly recalls the late Darlene Conley (Sally). “He treated her badly by leading her down the primrose path. It was unfair of him, and it was the most evil thing that Eric actually did in all these years, because he’s not much of a manipulator, but he manipulated her and got away with it for a while.”</p>
<p>“It seemed as if in some regards, she might be his equal,” suggests the actor of the romance that bloomed when <em>Young & Restless</em>’ Lauren briefly relocated to Los Angeles. “He thought maybe he would have his relationship with her at work and with Stephanie at home. But Lauren would never have stood for that. She was powerful and strong on her own and would have walked out on that.”</p>
<p>“From the very beginning of their relationship, Eric has been able to reach through Quinn’s armor and find her vulnerability,” believes McCook. “She doesn’t show that anywhere else. With others, she might pretend to be a vulnerable female at times, but it’s a charade. Eric, however, brings it to the surface in a very real way that no one else does.” </p>
<p>“It’s easy to understand why Quinn might feel insecure about Brooke,” acknowledges McCook. “After all, there’s clearly a deep and abiding love between Brooke and Eric. That, of course, brings out the worst in Quinn. And to be frank, Eric isn’t always the best about putting her first!” </p>
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