Parameters in env EDITOR

Can one parameterize the string used in EDITOR?

e.g.: vipw will fail when EDITOR='emacsclient -c'
with the error message:
# vipw
vipw: pw_edit(): No such file or directory
[Exit 1 ]
But vipw will function normally with EDITOR='emacsclient'
Maybe you can write short sh script "myemacsclient" and call emacsclient with some parameters inside this custom script. Then set EDITOR to /path/myemacsclient.
Thank you. I already have too many glue scripts and I can live without the '-c' option. I've recently been made responsible for a number of Ubuntu and Debian machines and the option seems to work fine with the Linuxian vipw. I'm hoping to grok the differences between BSD and Linux.