Take the rationality of Michael Scott from The Office, with the dryness of Ben Stein, throw in a heavy dose of loveable immaturity and hilarious obnoxiousness, and you've got Phil Dunphy. He's the seemingly over-confident real estate agent husband of Claire. He's so confident, in fact, that he claims that he could "sell a fur coat to an Eskimo". He was even a cheerleader in college. Hey, it takes a real man to for real cheer with pom poms.
Though he comes off as oozing self-assuredness , he continually seeks the approval of others, especially his children. Despite some of those questionable qualities, he's really just more quirky and insecure than anything, which makes him a very endearing and loveable character, and one of my favorite characters on the show. He's by no means perfect, but he sure does try. Hard. Like really, really hard.
Is he a complicated character? Well, let's take a look at the many roles/facets of Phil Dunphy:
Husband Phil is a good husband and he totally dotes on Claire. Though he has a hot neighbor, a smokin' hot mother-in-law (the sexy, vivacious Gloria), and an old college girlfriend (who he reconnected with on Facebook) who wants to jump his bones, he's made it clear that he would never stray from Claire. He does do nice things for Claire like stand up for her when the kids make offensive comments (like any significant other should), and he does try to spice things up by taking her to a hotel for Valentines Day, where some hilarious role-playing ensues.
Father Much to the embarrassment of his children, Phil considers himself a "cool dad", even going as far as creating a new parenting technique called "peerenting". I think you can figure that out. He desires to be hip with the times, always investing in the latest gadgets. He's even on Facebook, and he texts, which he thinks are the coolest things in the world. His kids think that he's a real pushover, and with good reason. He pretty much never goes through with the punishments that he imposes on them. In fact, he probably thinks that his kids are cool, and for sure, he wants that feeling to be mutual.
When his 11 year old daughter Alex asked him what Jagermeister was, he replied, “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”. Awesome.
Father-in-Law Well, he's not exactly a father-in-law yet, but we'll just call him that in this post for the sake of simplicity. He calls Haley's angsty boyfriend Dylan, D-Money, and when he founds out that Haley broke up with him, he looks forlorn and goes, "Oh noooo! I'll have to text him later".
Haley and Dylan do a lot of things that would make most parents nervous, like hang out alone in her bedroom, have no qualms with PDA and make out incessantly everywhere, and get into explosive fights all the time. Most dads would have made their daughters kick such boyfriends to the curb by now, but not Phil Dunphy. He just kind of goes with it.
Son-in-Law Phil has been married to Claire for 17 years, and yet has only hung out with Jay twice. Apparently, Jay scares the bejesus out of Phil. Phil's alright, and so is Jay, but Jay picks up on Phil's slight fear of him and uses it to his advantage. Phil tries really hard to please Jay and walks on egg shells around him, which only annoys Jay even more.
So when Jay flew a gigantic toy helicoptor into Phil's face, it was probably no accident.
Salesman Actually, he'd like to think of himself as less of a salesman, and more of a sales... friend. In regards to selling houses, he says of his success, "It's no big secret, you just follow the ABC's of salesmanship -- Always Be Closing". Exactly, Phil.
And when we follow him into one of his interviews during an open house, he says, "Did I need the sale? Yes. Was I worried? No. Why? Because. Because why? Because I wouldn't sell anything that I don't believe in, and when I believe, you believe. I could sell a fur coat to an Eskimo". So confident and I love how he interviews himself.
I'll leave you all with one last Phil Dunphy quote. This is his response to whether he's afraid of anything, "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". I should note though, that he has a severe case of Coulrophobia and is deathly afraid of clowns. To be fair, clowns are pretty scary.
And here's a clip of when he meets Dylan for the very first time that's the epitome of Phil's awkwardness and trying-to-be-coolness:
1/2 Michael Bluth from Arrested Development, and 1/2 everybody's real life (embarrassing) dad, Phil Dunphy (played by Ty Burrell) is quickly becoming my absolute favorite TV character. And the reason why Burrell's character is so great is that he seems totally believable. His character epitomizes the out-of-touch father, trying to prove to his children that he is still (if he ever was) cool. Dunphy has supplied us with enough awkward quotes and sayings that it would be a disservice not … more
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Phil Dunphy is Claire's husband of 16 years who sees himself as the "cool dad." He dotes on his wife Claire and constantly tries to find ways to bond with his three kids. He is seen as very competitive, one example being his nature of always beating his son at basketball. He has a very child-like attitude, and is referred to by Claire as the "kid [she's] married to." He uses a parenting method that he calls "peerenting", which is a combination of talking like a peer but acting like a parent. He is a real estate agent who is very confident in his work, once saying "I could sell a fur coat to an Eskimo." Phil has a severe case of Coulrophobia, which is first revealed when despite his objection, Cameron comes to Luke's party dressed as a clown. He at times shows a sort of crush-like affection for Gloria, however he says "[He] would never stray from Claire." In college he was a cheerleader.