Comedian George Carlin once said that the only thing one needs to know about men and women is that "women are crazy, and men are stupid -- and the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid." Not to say that The Young and the Restless' Jack (Peter Bergman) is stupid, but the guy sure knows how to ruffle the feathers of Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) and Kelly (Cady McClain); both women are crazy in love with the cosmetics exec, and one -- though viewers don't know which one yet -- has actually gone psycho over it. Phyllis is the one who's been thrown into the loony bin for allegedly trying to make Kelly look crazy, but Kelly could just as easily be the one who's truly insane. The convoluted case of the crazies will be playing out over the next couple of weeks, and McClain tells Soap Central that anything -- and we mean anything -- can happen.
"[New co-head writer Charles Pratt Jr.] has a very dramatic and powerful storytelling. I think it's stuff that keeps the audience guessing about what's going to happen next," she explains. "As an actor, it's challenging and exciting. Exciting is probably the best word for it. You just never know what's around the corner, really and truly."
Not knowing whether her alter ego is the crazy woman or if Phyllis is actually the one whose wheels are a little loose has been an entertaining ride for viewers, but McClain admits that it was initially a bit of a test for her acting skills. "It was a little difficult and challenging at first, but then as we kind of went along, it was sort of liberating," she says of not being completely sure of her character's mental state. "I really just had to play what was on the page day by day and do that 100 percent. And as long as I do that, it all seems to work out."
She continues: "You know, it's funny in life -- we throw around that word 'crazy,' and forgive me, because I always get a little philosophical, but who really is crazy? This is one woman's reality and another woman's reality. Maybe that's where it all kind of comes together, is that each woman has her version of what is the truth, and it's up to the audience to decide whose version they prefer."
The situation naturally puts both women on an even playing field, leaving viewers rooting for whichever woman they'd prefer to see with Jack. Though McClain doesn't assume that's why the writers went in this direction. "I don't think it was done to test the fans or to gain information from them," she says. "It's just a really fun way for us all to interact with each other, and that's been the biggest reward, I suppose, from the whole thing. It's created this interaction.... and you know, these kinds of things happen once in a blue moon, and I just feel really lucky to have landed in it."
While some people might feel threatened or feel competitive when working alongside other talented actors (both Bergman and Tognoni have won Emmys for their work), McClain feels the opposite. "I'm not a big fan of competing in a scene," she says. "I have to compete with myself and try to bring my own best game to it. If someone is really talented, I love it. Bring it. I want it. It makes my job easier. The more they bring to the table, the easier it is for me. All I have to do is respond -- just listen and respond, because that's basically what acting is. But if they aren't giving you anything, then you've got to pretend that they're giving you something and respond, and that's harder."
Speaking of not getting anything, it's possible that Kelly's predicament could leave her with exactly that: with nothing. If Phyllis trumps the former teacher, she'll lose Jack. And fans have started to question, without Jack, what's left for Kelly in Genoa City? "That is a tough question to ask, because she's so laser beamed in on Jack," the actress says with a laugh. "I don't know who could possibly dry her tears and put her to bed at night. But I'm sure there's someone! For a while, I thought that maybe she and Billy [Burgess Jenkins] would get back together in some accidental fashion. Burgess and I work well together, and we enjoy working together, so who knows. That seemed like a possibility, a worst-case scenario: she would go cry on Billy's shoulder. But... I don't think it would be love love. I think it would be comfort. Kelly is getting pretty beat up, so he'd have his work cut out for him!"
With most of her story dependent on Jack, some fans may wonder if McClain ever feels used as a temporary pawn -- a character the writers had stay in town for the sole purpose of entertaining the handsome exec while Phyllis was in a coma. But the actress states that she never looks at the situation that way. "I never felt used," she says. "Maybe as a long-time soap viewer, that might be a way to perceive it, but I never, ever felt that way. I always felt like 'This is great. I've got a story with Peter Bergman. I mean, come on!' And you know, this is just a wonderful extension, and it keeps extending on, and it's fantastic. I'm on for the duration. For however long they want me, I would love to come and play. I have a great time, and they keep giving me fun stuff to play, so I judge it not [laughs]. All I have is gratitude."
Conversely, McClain is quite romantic with him, as well. "This is kind of a sweet story," she begins. "He told me one time, 'You know, guys like flowers, too, sometimes. They're not supposed to say that, but they do.' So I went out and I bought him some flowers, I bought him a big orchid plant for his office, which I thought was manly. And he really appreciated it! He really appreciated it. It was kind of an odd, 'Guys like chocolate, too. Hey, how about that!' moment. A little flowers, chocolate, and jewelry? It doesn't hurt!"
Who do you think is really the crazy one: Kelly or Phyllis? Which woman is the best match for Jack? And if Kelly doesn't win the cosmetics CEO, what would you like to see for her future in Genoa City? Share your thoughts in our Comments section below, on our message boards, or by submitting Feedback.