While it’s been a bit over a year since Modern Family aired its series finale, the show is still making waves, with the entire series available on both Hulu and Peacock. From Gloria’s broken English to Cam’s outbursts when he is in duress, each character is known for their signature lines and none are more quotable than the “King of Dad Jokes” himself, Phil Dunphy.
Throughout the series’ 11 seasons, Phil is often trying to be cool and funny in front of his family. He’s constantly using modern slang or wear the latest trends, like Dylan’s line of V-neck shirts. But one constant is Phil’s corny way of answering the phone, often answering with words that rhyme with the more traditional “Hello,” like “Yellow” or “Aloe.”
10 “What’s The Most Dangerous Type Of Uranium Cake? Yellow!”
In season 7, episode 11’s “Spread Your Wings,” Phil is visiting Alex at CalTech for the first time. In the episode, Phil embarrasses Alex by accidentally activating all of the robots in her lab. Later, he heads to Alex’s dorm to apologize, he knocks and asks, “What’s the most dangerous type of uranium cake?” Before she can answer, he opens the door and proclaims, “Yellow!”
Yellowcake or Urania is a type of uranium concentrate powder obtained in the processing of uranium after it has been mined. Uranium has several uses, including nuclear fuel used to generate electricity in nuclear power stations, power nuclear submarines, and nuclear weapons.
9 “What’s The Best First-Person Shooter About Genetically-Modified Space Marines? Halo!”
Season 6, episode 16’s “Connection Lost” takes place entirely on Claire’s laptop as she waits for her flight at O’Hare airport. The episode uses FaceTime and iMessage to have her interact with the other characters. Claire calls Phil to ask him if he’s seen Haley and while wearing his headset, Phil answers the FaceTime asking, “What’s the best first-person shooter about genetically modified space marines?” and promptly answers “Halo!”
Phil is often seen throughout the series enjoying the latest gadget and games. It’s no wonder that while Claire was away Phil would enjoy some time playing video games. Halo is one of the major Xbox exclusive titles across the Microsoft console’s many evolutions, spawning a total of 14 games.
8 “Who Sang ‘Evil Woman?’ ELO!”
Season 1, episode 22’s “Airport 2010” has the entire family in an airport headed to Hawaii for Jay’s birthday. Mitchell forgets his wallet at home, causing him and Phil to drive back to the house. While in the car, Phil gets a call from Claire and before answering asks his brother-in-law, “Who sang “Evil Woman?” Phil answers the phone exclaiming, “ELO!”
ELO or Electric Light Orchestra is a British rock band that was active during the ’70s and ’80s. The band’s original members included Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, and Bev Bevan, adding Richard Tandy in 1972. Their biggest hits were “Evil Woman,” “Livin’ Thing,” and “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head”. In 2017, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and currently exists under the name Jeff Lynne’s ELO with original members, Jeff Lynne and Richard Tandy.
7 “Wait, What’s My Favorite Hospital Food? Jell-O!”
Season 3 Episode 9 “Punkin Chunkin” is Modern Family’s first Thanksgiving episode. The episode features Kenneth, played by Josh Gad (Frozen, Beauty & The Beast), an old family friend who comes to town.
When Kenneth calls Phil to tell him that he’s stopping by, Phil asks Luke “What’s my favorite hospital food?” Phil proceeds to answer Kenneth’s call and shouts “Jell-O!”
6 “Hey, Luke, What Instrument Does Yo-Yo Ma Play? Cello!”
When Kenneth is introduced, he is depicted as very similar to Phil and the two even share a long and complicated “manshake.” Throughout the episode, Phil wonders why Kenneth is so much more successful than he is, as they are essentially the same person. This comes to a head when Kenneth excuses himself to take a call from his assistant from Tokyo named Paris.
In true Phil fashion, before answering the phone, Kenneth asks Luke, “What instrument does Yo-Yo Ma play?” As he leaves the room, Kenneth answers the phone shouting “Cello!” Yo-Yo Ma is a world-renowned cellist who graduated from both The Juilliard School and Harvard University. He has recorded over 90 albums and won a total of 18 Grammy Awards.
5 “Quick, Girls, Famous Danny From ‘Moonstruck,’ Aiello?”
Season 3, episode 15’s “Aunt Mommy” focuses on Claire’s decision to donate her eggs to Mitchell and Cam. Meanwhile, Phil gets a call from Mitchell while talking to his daughters, and before picking up the phone, he asks them who the famous Danny from the film, Moonstruck is. Before the two have a chance to respond, Phil answers the phone saying “Aiello!”
Danny Aiello was an actor known for his roles in The Godfather Part II (1974), Léon: The Professional (1994), and Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989), where he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 1987, he starred in the Oscar award-winning film, Moonstruck, alongside Cher, who played an Italian-American woman who falls in love with her fiancé’s younger brother, played by Nicolas Cage.
4 “Quick, Nature’s Sure-Fire Sunburn Remedy? Aloe!”
In season 4, episode 16, “Bad Hair Day,” Claire attends her college reunion. When Phil’s bowling game gets canceled, he surprises Claire at the reunion, only to find out she didn’t want him there in the first place.
When Phil gets the call from Jay about the canceled game, he picks up the phone asking Luke, “Quick, nature’s sure-fire sunburn remedy? ” and answers “Aloe!” Aloe vera is used in many consumer products, from beverages and cosmetics to ointments for sunburns.
3 “Phil, Where Were Nationals Senior Year? Cleveland, Oh … Hi-o!”
In season 8, episode 17, “Pig Moon Rising,” Claire and Phil learn that Luke has been rejected from every college he applied to. In order to rectify the situation, they set up a meeting with an old friend/cheerleading buddy who happens to also be a college dean. The Dean makes a deal with Phil, saying that if Phil shows him some of the secrets to his magic tricks, he will secure a spot for Luke.
While in the Dean’s office, he gets a call, and in true Phil fashion asks, “Where were Nationals senior year?” Quickly answering “Cleveland, Oh … Hi-o!” This irks Phil, prompting him to ask Claire if she could “imagine putting up with this for years on end?” Of course, she rolls her eyes, as Phil has literally done this many times throughout the series.
2 “What’s The Ring Around An Angel’s Head? Halo!”
In season 5, episode 21, “Sleeper,” the family is getting ready for another family portrait. Phil ends up at Jay’s house to ask him for a favor when Jay gets a call.
After years of being around Phil, Jay feels inspired and asks Gloria and Manny, “What’s the ring around an angel’s head?” and answers Phil’s call with a “Halo!” Phil tells Jay that while he normally would be delighted to hear him use the “angel one,” he specifies that this won’t be a fun chat.
1 “What Nickname Did Jennifer Lopez Steal From Jon Lovitz? J-Lo.”
In season 8, episode 19’s “Frank’s Wedding,” Phil makes his final signature greeting of the series, or at least attempts to. The episode centers around Phil’s father Frank’s wedding, in which Phil plans to have his family show up in costume. This prompts the family to have an intervention, speaking to Phil about his obsession with all things fun.
In the middle of the episode, Phil gets a call and starts to answer in his usual way, with the question, “What nickname did Jennifer Lopez steal from Jon Lovitz?” With his family’s words resonating in him, Phil pivots and answers the phone with a simple “hello.” Luke comments, saying that he couldn’t believe his father didn’t say “J-Lo.” This joke comments on the fact that Jennifer Lopez’s nickname J-Lo is also applicable to the actor Jon Lovitz, known for his roles in Rat Race (2001) and A League of Their Own (1992).
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