BY COLIN VICKERY
IT IS a case of third time lucky for Ty Burrell. The 43-year-old actor starred in two ratings duds by sitcom creator Christopher Lloyd— Out of Practice and Back to You.
But Burrell has hit paydirt with Lloyd’s Modern Family. He plays try-hard dad Phil Dunphy, who lives with highly strung wife Claire (Julie Bowen) and kids Haley (Sarah Hyland), Alex (Ariel Winter) and Luke (Nolan Gould).
Burrell is in a playful mood when we speak at the home of Modern Family — the Fox Studios in Los Angeles. Howdo you and Julie stand each other on the show? It takes a lot of booze. Phil can be a real pain sometimes . . . One of the luxuries of having a second season is that we’re getting a chance to see different sides of the character. There’s an episode about him loving cheesy movies. Howdo you think Phil has changed on the show? The first image of Phil was sort of almost like hip-hop Phil, which is funny, but I think it would be really limiting if you were trying to play it all the time. The writers have really subtly expanded him into a lot of different areas. What do you have in common with Phil? I think I have a general obliviousness that Phil has. I think we share that. Do you feel bad about the way Phil talks to his kids, sometimes, for example, calling them stupid? No, I don’t feel bad. I think it’s just funny. I think that the audience know that these people really love their kids. What is it like working with so many kids on Modern Family? One of the most fascinating things is the differences between Rico (Rodriguez, who plays Manny Delgado), and Nolan (Gould, who plays his son Luke Dunphy) and their characters. Rico is the opposite of his character — a total kid at heart. Nolan is a genius. Were you surprised by the warm reception to the show? Very surprised. I’d never had a job for more than a couple of months (before Modern Family). Do you think Modern Family would have been possible 20 years ago? I would say some material was even harsher (back then). Modern Family, Channel 10, Sunday, 6.30pm