Claire generally refers to Phil as "the kid she's married to." Her opinions about uptight ways of parenting almost always serve as a foil to Phil's calmness and tendencies to be too laid-back about many important things, such as his oldest daughter Haley wearing a short and tight skirt to school, which he called "cute."
In "Hawaii", Phil reveals that they were supposed to go to Hawaii for their honeymoon, but Claire got pregnant with Haley before they could go. He also reveals that he had to beg Claire to marry him.
In "Strangers on a Treadmill", it is shown that Claire does not find Phil funny, though this opinion changes by the end of the episode.
Jay gets along with and views Phil like many stereotypical in-laws do, much to Claire's chagrin. Claire says that the relationship between Phil and Jay is very strained, and she has tried on many occasions to bond the two of them. One of these attempts ended with Jay presumably flying an airplane into Phil's face. It is never figured out whether this was intentional or an accident. The result of this was complaints from Claire, Gloria, and Mitchell; which led to Jay hugging Phil and Cameron.
Physical Appearance and Typical Attire
Phil is in good shape and likes to prove his manliness. He is often seen wearing a dress shirt and trousers. On the show's two Valentine's Day episodes, "My Funky Valentine" and "Bixby's Back", Phil has taken on an alter ego of Clive Bixby (ergo the name for the latter episode) to go role-playing with Claire, who also took on an alter ego. Both attempts went horribly wrong and ended in either Phil or Claire being in a tight position.
Quirks and personality traits
Phil is generally goofy and often doesn't plan things through. He is often paired with Claire, one of the kids, or Jay to drive the story.
He considers himself to be the "cool dad," which his children often disagree with. He goes to extremes to bond with his children, going so far as to learn the dances to songs from High School Musical and wearing a custom jacket featured in the film. He is also shown to be very competitive, not even allowing his son to score a basket out of pity while playing basketball with him.
Phil suffers from coulrophobia, intense fear of clowns. This was revealed in the episode "Fizbo", when Cameron came to Luke's birthday party dressed as a clown. He has addressed this and says that his mother thinks the fear originated from him finding a dead clown in the woods one day when he was little.
Phil's laid-back way of handling situations often gets him into chain reaction situations in which the problem grows after every event. He often has to lie to avoid getting into trouble with Claire, though she always ends up finding out in the end, often leaving Phil in embarrassment. But if he finds a way to keep a secret, he will waste no time doing it so he never has to confess.
Phil is apparently very good at choosing presents, this is said by Claire in a few episodes, these episodes usually involve Claire having to get Phil a birthday/anniversary present which she is very bad at.
Phil, along with Claire, has shown an interest for "cheesy cinema". His other interests include sports, his job, watching the nature channel and working with computers and technology. He is also shown in "Up All Night" to have an interest in close-up magic. Phil also loves trampolines and subscribes to a trampoline magazine. He frequently talks about being a 'male cheerleader' in college, and is still under the impression that it was cool, attributing he and his cheerleader friends not being invited to parties to the other students being "jealous."
Haley is Phil's oldest daughter. He tries hard to be the cool dad with her, but it only leads to her embarrassment. Phil gets emotional when he realizes that his little girl is growing up and that she is not his little girl any more. Haley reminds him that she will always be his little girl.
Alex is Phil's youngest daughter. He also tries to be the cool dad with Alex, bonding with her to solve a problem or to talk about something serious, but she ends thinking that it's weird and considers him an idiot, but she loves him nonetheless.nerd.
In "Starry Night", Alex voices a suspicion that Luke has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), but all the symptoms she reads out all are shown to apply to Phil.
In "The Last Walt", Phil realizes that Walt, who passed away, never fixed his estrangement from his daughter and he decides that he does not want the same thing to happen with himself and Alex, so he sets out with her for some great stories to replace the empty gallery of Phil-Alex moments. All his attempts to create something special (he even tries to get a woman in labor so they can help her deliver since no one else is around to do it) fail and when Alex asks him why he is acting so weird, he tells her that he just wants to create a special memory for her. Alex tells him she will always remember how her father spent the entire day trying to create a memory for her.
Luke is Phil's youngest son and only male child. He bases his relationship with his son on his own relationship with his father Frank - he saw his dad as a more of a buddy and close friend than a parent while growing up, and so wanted Luke to see him the same way. As they are the only two males in the family, they form an extremely close bond with each other and are often seen coming up with various schemes and ideas to try together. He cares for Luke deeply and vice versa, as in many episodes it has been shown his family love towards him:
In the "Pilot", Phil has to shoot Luke with a BB gun because he shot his sister with, Alex, with that gun. But when he is just about to shoot Luke, Phil sees that he is scared, thinks that he has learned the lesson and he decides to not shoot him, although he accidentally ends up shooting him.
In "Fears", Phil tries to retrieve Luke's toy truck, even though he is scared of going there.
In "The Late Show", Phil reveals that of his 3 children, Luke is his favorite.
Despite having so much in common and relate very well, they don't have exactly the same likes and dislikes:
In "Fizbo", it is revealed that Phil is afraid of clowns, while Luke loves them. His fear is said to stem from finding a dead clown in the woods.
In "The Butler's Escape", it is shown that, despite his aptitude for magic, Luke is not interested of being a magician, which greatly disappoints Phil, because he loves magic, but he finally tells Luke that whatever he decide, he will always support him.
In "And One to Grow On", Phil wants to set Luke on a dance class, which he dislikes, because Phil says that he comes from a long line of dancing Dunphys.
Jay is Phil's father-in-law. He tries really, really hard to gain approval from Jay and Jay is very stubborn at not giving him any. It is almost as if Jay doesn't like Phil at all, but Jay tells Phil directly that he liked him. Once to Jay's dismay, he accidentally told Phil that he loved him, but Phil was too busy and didn't hear it. Jay introduces Phil as "Phil is my son-in-law," but Phil says it sounds like he is saying, "Phyllis, my son-in-law." Phil also complains that Jay says "Dumb-phy" instead of "Dunphy." Phil once fixed Jay's printer and since it is Phil's only accomplishment with Jay, he brings it up every chance he gets.
Gloria is Phil's step-mother-in-law. He has a crush on her, once staring at Gloria through Claire's sunglasses. Gloria is seemingly oblivious. Jay says nothing of it because Phil knows not to cross the line, saying he would never stray away from Claire. He takes any and all chances to hug or touch her, except once when he realizes that Claire is the most important thing that ever happened to him. But this quickly changes back.
They have not spent much time together, but when they have, Phil treats him almost like a son instead of a brother-in-law, which he is.
Mitchell is Phil's brother-in-law. They don't spend much time together but they treat each other like brothers.
In "Airport 2010", Phil drives Mitchell to retrieve his wallet, which he forgot at home in all the chaos.
In "Strangers on a Treadmill", Mitch tries to tell Phil that his jokes for the the SCARB (Southern California Annual Realtors Banquet) are unfunny, but Mitch can't go through it after seeing Phil's sad face and eventually ends up telling him that he is "this generation's Richard Pryor."
In "Tableau Vivant", Phil has to find a way to tell Mitch that he is fired from his part-time job at the real estate agency. When Phil goes to Mitch's house to tell him about his dismissal while Mitch also tries to tell him that he does not want to continue working at the estate agency. Mitch balls out. and he does not say anything and Phil believes that Mitch understood what he was trying to tell him. When Mitch appears at the agency later, Phil no having other choice, he finally tells him. Mitch is stuck in the elevator for two hours knowing he has been fired. The idea of losing his job does not seem to thrill him since he has never been fired before in his life.
In "Diamond in the Rough", Claire and Cam want to try their hand at flipping a house while they're at it, and Phil and Mitchell fight over who will be the bad guy to tell them no. Claire and Cam finally find out what they were trying to do, and get really mad at their significant others.
The only member of Phil's family who has appeared on-screen throughout the entire show is his father, Frank. He is a very cheerful and happy man and Phil always saw him as a friend rather than a parent when growing up. They are shown to have a very close relationship and Phil does the same thing with his son Luke.
Phil is also an only child.
In "Australia", Phil mentions that a grandfather of his mother was Australian.
He likes listening to Hall and Oates.
- He, Claire, Mitch, Cam, Jay, and Gloria are the only characters who have appeared in every episode.
- He was born on April 3rd, as in "Game Changer", he says that the first-generation iPad is released on his birthday.
- His middle name is Humphrey ("The Wedding (Part 2)").
- He might have ADHD ("Starry Night")