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 revealed 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 attireEdit
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 traitsEdit
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.
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 always talks about being a 'male cheerleader' in college.
Along with his family relationships seen on the show regularly, Phil also maintains a good relationship with his father Frank, played by Fred Willard.
Frank is portrayed as a joking, irresponsible older version of Phil. Phil credits his father for giving him his laid-back attitude. In "Undeck the Halls", he appeared only via webcam, in which he aimed it too high before being told by the family. He appears again in "Travels with Scout", this time in person, where he brings the family his dog, Scout, who he says his wife has allergies to. He eventually takes the dog back with him.
Phil's mother (Sarah) has not appeared in the show. She passed away at the end of season 4, covered in the season 4 finale.
Acts as a foil to Claire's uptightedness and need to stick to rules. Although they are very different in personalities, it's clear that he really loves her and continuously makes an effort to let her know that, although sometimes that backfires as he has a tendency to mix things up, thus sending off the wrong meaning. Claire loves him too, but often refers to him as her fourth kid, as he has a tendency to act childish in a goofy and impulsive way. Although he loves Claire, he is seen to be easily mesmerized with beautiful women, especially Gloria; however he does state that he would never stray from Claire. They compliment each other's parenting style and are incredibly supportive of each other, whenever needed.
Tries hard to be the cool dad, 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 thinks that her parents are idiots, but she loves them nonetheless. She thinks that both Luke and her dad have ADD.
Phil bases his relationship with Luke on his own relationship with his dad 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 a really close bond with each other and are often seen coming up with various schemes and ideas to try together. Up until 'The Butler's Escape', they appeared to share the same likes and dislikes. However, even then, when Luke expressed disinterest in magic, one of Phil's passions, Phil accepted it as he realized that Luke will grow up to have his own interests and that he, as a dad should respect that. However, their relationship continues to remain close and buddy-like.
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.
Phil has a crush on Gloria, 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 and CameronEdit
They don't spend much time together, but they treat each other like brothers.
Ty Burrell had received many positive reviews for performance. Hank Stuever from the Washington Post wrote, "A standout performance from Ty Burrell's new twist on the doofus-dad stereotype." Paige Wiser a reporter for the Chicago Sun Times wrote, "Ty Burrell is original as a dad who stays hip by keeping up with the numbers from "High School Musical.""
- Main article: Phil Dunphy Quotes
Claire: All over YouTube. We went viral. Phil: Some sick bastard auto-tuned me.
I'm a cool dad, that's my thing. I'm hip, I surf the web, I text. LOL means laugh out loud, OMG: oh my god, WTF: why the face