C'mon, folks. Cut John Slattery some slack. It's not his fault that his new Ed character, testy high school principal Dennis Martino, has stolen away teacher Carol Vessey from the romantic comedy's title sweetheart. He is simply an actor performing the material that he is given. Of course, he doesn't have to enjoy it quite so much.

"People always say, 'Oh, we saw you on Ed — you're kind of a [expletive],'" he tells TV Guide Online, clearly tickled. "But I'd much rather play an a--hole than somebody that you're worrying about whether or not [viewers] are going to like you. That's the kiss of death."

That being the case, Slattery must always love his work — trouble seems to follow wherever he gets hired. On the short-lived post-WWII drama Homefront, he played Al Kahn, a smooth-talking labor leader who knocked up the series's ultrareligious matriarch. Sex and the City cast him as a politician with a fetish too far-out for kinky Carrie Bradshaw. In his Will & Grace guest gig, he seduced his gay kid brother's roommate right out from under him. And he hasn't even begun to wreak havoc in Stuckeyville!

"Dennis is going to kill them all," he deadpans. "There's going to be a big explosion."

Actually, although no TNT will be involved, Slattery is only half kidding. While Dennis undoubtedly hasn't kept Carol after class for the last time, future episodes (airing Wednesdays at 8 pm/ET on NBC) are also bound to feature him continuing to criticize the "alien planet" on which he has landed.

Translation: kaboom.