On Monday night, Ty Burrell will look to crush the hopes and dreams of his Modern Family co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson for the second time with an Emmy win for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Burrell previously won in 2011, when he bested not only Ferguson, who remains winless in five nominations, but also Ed O’Neill and Eric Stonestreet as well, and a win at the 66th Emmy Awards on Monday will tie him with Stonestreet and his TV wife Julie Bowen at two wins each so they can all hold their statues over their castmates’ heads in glory at their script readings. At least that’s how I imagine TV works behind the scenes.
A win would also be an incredible birthday present for Burrell, who turns 47 today, as no actors would mind capping off a weekend of celebration with a reminder that they play one of the funniest and most beloved characters on television. For Burrell, it might even be sweeter than just the industry’s recognition of his outstanding acting, since he didn’t even really get started in TV until he was in his 30s and showed up on an episode of Law & Order in 2000. Some people might remember his role in Black Hawk Down, but I sometimes don’t even remember that Tom Hardy and Orlando Bloom were in that movie. Others might think that Burrell’s first big shot at fame came as the scumbag misogynist bro Steve in 2004’s Dawn of the Dead, but I really only love bringing that role up because of the “Down with the Sickness” scene.
Like I could share that GIF on this family-oriented site. (But it’s not hard to find the scene on YouTube, pervs.) Still, it’s hilarious to catch Dawn of the Dead on cable every now and then and to see Burrell being such an A-hole, when he plays one of the most beloved characters and all-around best dads in sitcom history in Phil Dunphy. In fact, if we had a sitcom family fantasy draft today – and I really shouldn’t be wasting this idea – I’d sit on Phil Dunphy as a sleeper to be the patriarch of my fictitious father. I’d take him over any of those Full House goobers, Jason Seaver, Tony Micelli, Carl Winslow, and even Joey Harris, who had arguably the best sitcom mullet no matter what any John Stamos fan says.
So in honor of Burrell’s fifth Emmy nomination, and potentially his second victory, I thought we could spend his birthday celebrating some of the greatest, funniest and most useful fatherly advice that Phil Dunphy has ever given us on Modern Family.
Be the cool dad by knowing what makes kids today tick.
I’m not a dad yet, but I can’t wait for the day that I’ll be able to sing along with popular teen musicals in front of my own kids and hopefully even their friends. That will give them something to talk about forever and ever.
Dress the part.
Keep your eye on all the latest trends and hip styles. Being a dad doesn’t mean that you have to settle for Dockers and “World’s Greatest Dad” t-shirts, so don’t be afraid to spice it up a little to remind your kids that you’re still hip and with it.
Try to relate to your daughter’s love interest instead of criticizing him.
If your daughter brings home her first boyfriend, she needs your acceptance and positive reinforcement far more than your judgment and criticism. Remember, it’s easier to take a door off the hinges than it is to mend a broken heart.
Encourage your child’s creative process by helping with the development of ideas.
Two brains are always better than one, and a gentle push in the right direction will always be better for a child’s mental evolution.
When it comes to love, lead by example.
But don’t be afraid to show off some of the old skills when mom isn’t around.
Reinforce your child’s observations with positive affirmation.
Even if he’s stating the obvious, encourage him by agreeing with enthusiasm. Also, maybe start looking into therapy just in case.
Bottom line – be a friend and a dad.
Being one or the other is never enough, especially when it comes time to bail your son out of jail or vice versa.
Be frugal when necessary.
After all, being a parent can be expensive, so why not cut corners when it’s convenient?
No matter what, be there for your children at all times.
Their emotional development is far more important than any problems that you might be experiencing.
Teach your kids things that they will need for when they become adults.
Even if they don’t see the usefulness today, they’ll appreciate the knowledge so much more tomorrow.
Always think before you speak.
Embarrassing situations can always be avoided by simply processing the words in our brains before we share them with others.
Seriously, just think for one second before you let a word slip out of your mouth.
It’s important to emphasize some things more than once.
Be sensitive to and aware of other people when speaking about them.
If you don’t know how to properly refer to someone, be as vague and cautiously complimentary as you possibly can.
Don’t ever say something you might later regret.
You won’t always agree with your relatives and in-laws, so make sure to keep your cool and never say something mean in the heat of the moment.
Whatever you do, don’t openly gloat.
No one likes to be burned and then have salt poured all over them. Win with class and style.
Use your cleverness to your family’s advantage.
A good system can be the difference between preparation and being caught with your pants down, which isn’t good if you’re in jail.
Never stop being amazed.
The things that widened our eyes as children should never stop captivating us.
You’ll accomplish nothing if you only focus on the negative.
A smile is simply a key that opens every door. But when in doubt, you can always just fall back on the good, old “Phil’s osophies.”