ABC'S hit sitcom, Modern Family, has brought us some amazing plots, giggles, and characters we can't get enough of. From Cam's theatrics, to Claire's competitiveness, to Gloria trying her best to speak English—we have all fallen in love with the Pritchett-Delgado-Dunphy clan. But there's on character that stands above the rest and brings us rays of sunshine whenever he's on camera; ladies and gentleman, Phil Dunphy.
Phil isn't your typical Southern California realtor, ohh no. He's a man that enjoys the little things, like male cheerleading, magic, and creating his own inventions. He's crazy about his wife and want's to be best buddies with his three kids. He's constantly seeking the approval of his father-in-law, and is the true definition of a go-getter. He is hands down one of the best parts about Modern Family and here are 15 reasons why.
We've seen it time and time again when it comes to Phil under pressure. When something needs to be done and is time sensitive - he simply acts without thinking the whole thing through. The most endearing part is, his ethic is coming from a good place. He just wants people to look at him as a hero - someone who can get the job done without questions asked. But for whatever reason, Phil continues to fail. Like when Claire asks Phil to run to the grocery store to pick up three things, and he comes back with a basket filled of random necessities instead. Or like in the meme above when he tried bringing home an alpaca as a pet. Of course, Claire made Phil return the lama-lookalike, but in later episodes (when Claire was in a good mood), he tried bringing home another alpaca. You can't blame the man for trying - that's why we love him!
If you haven't noticed, it seems like Phil has a few identities. He has brought up multiple times how he was a dork back in the day and that Claire was so far out of his league, he has no idea how she's even married to him. But then there are times when Phil comes off as overly confident and everything he does is current, up to speed, and popular. Take his street-strider in the scene above. This episode was revolved around a garage sale and when Phil peddled out on this bad-boy, Claire was relieved he was getting rid of it! Except for the fact that he wasn't selling it, he was imply taking it for a ride. He has no idea how...lame (for lack of a better word) that this street-strider is. You would think he would be more comfortable on a bike or maybe some rollerblades accessorized with elbow and knee pads, but nope! He dances to the beat of his own drum. Or to the speed of his own street-strider.
The amazing thing between Phil and Claire's relationship is how increasingly different they are from one another. Claire is bossy, anal, and overbearing. While Phil is relaxed, hysterical, and carefree. Yet, somehow, the two really are connected on a deeper level.
Where they differ most is Phil is constantly doing things to get the attention of Claire. Like buying a new (tighter) suit, or making small romantic gestures. Unfortunately, Claire never seems to notice until the last minute. One would think these are more on the famine side of the spectrum because Phil isn't afraid to get his hair washed at a salon or get a manicure while waiting for an appointment. But it doesn't matter. The fact that Phil is so open about enjoying the luxuries of a manicure, massage, or a dance class is why he totally rules the show and is one hell of a man.
Céline Dion, magic, making pancakes, these are just a few of Phil Dunphy's favorite things. And then there's the nature channel, of course. There were a few episodes where Phil becomes enthralled in his entertainment system. He spent an entire episode tying to hook every electronic up to his iPad so he could control everything from one device (he was pretty pumped bout the dishwasher). He event spent an entire episode in season six playing Halo on his XBOX while Claire and the rest of the family searched tirelessly for their daughter, Hayley, who ended up being in her room the entire time. Phil was too into his game to notice. But throwing on wireless headphones just to enjoy the nature channel - it's so Phil, we shouldn't even be surprised.
This could possibly be the greatest sentence in any scene; "I am brave. Rollercoasters? Love 'em. Scary movies? I've seen Ghostbusters like seven times. I regularly drive through neighborhoods that have only recently been gentrified. So, yeah. I'm pretty much not afraid of anything."
We love that Phil was so "honest" about his bravery but the fact of the matter is, he wasn't being completely honest to himself. Phil is the scaredy-cat in the marriage whereas Claire is the more fearless leader. Is he afraid of rollercoasters? He claims no, but once he got the courage to go on a rollercoaster with Claire, he passed out mid ride due to being petrified! And as far as scary movies are concerned, we love that he thinks Ghostbusters is so scary. However, every single Halloween, he begs Claire to make a haunted house that is more of a fun house filled with happiness than fake blood and guts. Sorry Phil, we know you too well to believe you at this point.
It seems every time the camera is on Phil, there are invisible rainbows floating around the man's head. He is always filled with such positivity that his problems barely seem like problems. Which is why he could quite possibly be the easiest person to buy gifts for. But somehow, Claire always struggles to find Phil the right gift.
In the scene above, Claire gave Phil a card with "three free-hug" vouchers inside for their anniversary. She then says "You're impossible to buy for, you never want anything." Quite the contrary Claire! Phil would be happy with a tight-rope in the backyard, or a life-supply of fire works, or even pancakes with a whipped cream smile on top. How does Claire fail this every single year!?
Phil would do anything for this three kids; Hayley, Alex, and Luke. While all three kids are vastly different, he finds ways to connect to each one so they view him as the "cool dad." But his connection with his only son, Luke, needs to no explanation. It's clear Luke looks up to Phil and has grown into a mini-Phil himself. From their one liners to their love for seemingly dumb things - these two are two peas in a pod. But what happens when Claire confronts phil about finding a naked photo of a woman on a tractor? Instead of taking the heat (because it was his after all), he blames it on his son! This way he doesn't have to get shaded by his wife and he can say he's having the big "talk" with Luke about intimacy. While trying to defuse the situation, he says the picture would be considered a "cereal commercial" in Europe. Sorry Phil, we don't think Claire is convinced...
As I've said previously, we adore how much Phil loves his wife. After almost 20 years of marriage, these two have been through three-kids, family drama, and trying to keep their flame alive. And since these two are so different, we think that's the key to their marriage. "Sometimes, I don't know if I love how much I fear Claire, or fear how much I love her." Talk about swoon-worthy! He has mentioned a few times throughout the years that he loves powerful women, and now that Claire has made the transition from house-wife to CEO of her dad's company - his love for her is stronger than ever. Although sometimes Phil says "romantic" things that come off wrong, like, "Marry someone who looks sexy while disappointed," he means well. And we think Claire understands what he's trying to say by now.
Let's be real, saying you're a male cheerleader used to be an odd thing to acclaim. But Phil Dunphy has made it cool. He went to cheer-camp while growing up and did the "cool" thing and cheered for his College team. "Cheerleading in my college was cool. Football players were so jealous, they wouldn't even let me and my buddies Trevor, Scotty, and Ling go to their parties." Oh, Phil. It's sweet he thinks they wouldn't let him in due to jealousy.
In later years, he has tried to get Luke into the sport of cheerleading, but let's just say Luke was not interested (even though he was a hell of a tumbler). And let's not forget when Phil took Hayley on a college visit to his alma-matter and did toe touches with the current cheerleaders when they were practicing on the lawn.
We have to give it to Phil for being so honest with his kids. Through all the awkward conversations and questions, Phil always finds a way to give them the answer their looking for but in a very "Phil" way. He is the cool dad after all. So when Alex asks her dad what Jägermeister is, Phil has the most amazing response; "You know how in a fairy tale there's always a potion that makes the princess fall asleep and then the guys start kissing her? Well, this is like that except you don't wake up in a castle...you wake up in a frat house with a bad reputation." Boom! He gave her a clear answer while connecting it to something she can relate to. Translation: drinking Jäagermeister will lead to bad choices and bad news to follow the next day. Honestly, this is such a great analogy, I wouldn't be surprised if other parents stole it for their kids.
Phil has these days where he feels he can do more as a parent. The only problem is, he tries to have a tough exterior and be someone who can scare change into their kids, but that's just not Phil. That sounds more like Claire. Phil is the fun parent. The parent with the soft skin and someone who can be fooled into doing something.
However, in this scene, Phil felt he was being taken advantage of by his children and wanted to prove to them that he can be feared and taken seriously. So, he made his girls do a full day of chores by instilling fear into them. As they scrubbed the bathroom and changed the light bulbs, the girls told their dad they were starving and hadn't had lunch yet. Instead of giving in, telling the girls they did enough work for the day and to go grab some lunch, he told them "Neither have half the kids in Africa." Talk about a way to snap your kids back into place! The episode obviously ended with Phil apologizing and having a relegation that that wasn't the kind of parent he was. But we love him for "trying" to be a hard ass.
Modern Family absolutely kills the whole "documentary" vibe. The interviews the characters have and the weird, blank stares at the camera are some of the best moments in the series. Especially when Phil says things without fully thinking them through.
When Phil noticed Luke was nervous to message his crush, Phil took charge and pretended to be Luke for him. "I think I know how to pick up a fourteen-year old girl..." (Insert silence and a quick stare) "For you." Oh, Phil. We know you meant well by trying to help Luke, but sometimes the things you say come off super creepy. Good thing we know you better not to take you too seriously! This episode was actually hilarious because as it turns out, Luke ended up going on his little date while Phil and Luke's date's mom had a drink at the bar. Unfortunately for Phil, the woman was under the impression that Phil was hitting on her and let's jus say the night ended well for Luke but not for Phil...
It catches us off guard when Phil decides to be the aggressor in the family. We're all so used to Claire taking charge and dishing out punishments that when Phil does it - it leaves us in awe. The scene above is when Phil and Claire celebrate Valentine's Day a day earlier. However, their date night is ruined when Claire suffers a minor heart issue and is hospitalized. They head back home early only to find their kids throwing a party. Even Alex and Luke were a part of the Dunphy shindig! In classic Phil Dunphy form, he has to to put the party to a halt and kicks everyone out in the best way possible; "Everybody who I did no create, get out of my house right now!" Poor Phil, this was probably the last thing he wanted to deal with after worrying all night about Claire. But it wouldn't be Modern Family without some humor during the hard times.
Phil is a man who loves love and hates sadness. Back in the earlier episodes when Hayley was dating Dylan, Phil gained a soft spot for the lost teenager. That is until Hayley decided she wanted to see the people and broke up with him through text message. Phil was dumbfounded by Hayley breaking up with someone in such an impersonal way. And when Dylan responded with only a sad-face emoticon, you bet Phil was hurt. Just look at his face in the picture above! Pure anguish! Unfortunately for Hayley, her dear old dad decides to get more involved and invites Dylan out to lunch and a guitar session to help ease the breakup from his daughter. Phil Dunphy: a lover, not a fighter.
There are thousands of times Phil proves to everyone that he is the cool dad. But his entrance in episode one of season one was by far the most groundbreaking introduction ever; "I'm hip. I surf the web, I text. LOL: laugh out loud, OMG: oh my God, WTF: why the face?" First of all: he says "hip," he says "surf the web," and the fact that he thinks WTF means "why the face" absolutely kills me. He is a dad who learned the choreography to High School Musical, he is a dad who has taught his daughters how to dance "non-white." And he is the dad who wears Dockers and "World's Best Dad" t-shirts. He handles everything life throws at him with a smile and probably on his street-strider. He is Phil Dunphy, world's best dad, world's most loving husband, and Modern Family's best character.