On ‘Modern Family,’ the Dunphy grandfather — first shown on Skype talking to his son Phil’s family — is played by Fred Willard, a veteran actor with a career spanning five decades. TV Squad has an interview with Fred, and here are the highlights:
They haven’t shown Phil’s mom yet. Who would you want to play your TV wife?
[laughs] Let me come on down the line. I’m kind of a cynical actor. I had a feeling they just used me, they’ll use Phil’s dad and see if he doesn’t work out, then we’ll bring in Phil’s mom and see if that works. They seem to like my character because they had me in twice and then they asked for a photo they could hang in the hallways so I’d be part of the family. I think if it goes well, maybe they’ll bring me in for a storyline with Phil’s mom. I thought maybe Jennifer Coolidge would be great. Catherine O’Hara. And something I also thought would be a great plot point if I separated from my wife, maybe I’d get together with Shelley Long, who made a great appearance on the show. I know Shelley. We’ve been friends for a long time and I think she’s just great and it’d be great if we met and sparked a little romance. I’d take her away in my camper.
TV.com is hosting television’s hottest new honor, the TV.com NOW Awards! Julie Bowen and Fred Willard from Modern Family are nominated for Quick Change Artist – Impressive Acting Range (Julie) and Guest Stars We Wish Stayed Around Longer (Fred).
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Fans of ever-smiling comedy icon Fred Willard will be pleased to learn that Phil Dunphy’s father Frank will be pulling his RV back into Modern Family next season thanks to a casting match made in heaven (with a little help from series star Ty Burrell).
“They said that I should be back, because they asked me for my photo to put in the hallway there on the set — that I’m part of the family now!” Willard tells TV Guide Magazine. The actor, who rose to prominence on the 70s series Fernwood Tonight and director Christopher Guest’s improved film oeuvre, credits Burrell for bringing him into the Dunphy clan.
Source: TV Guide
TV Geek Army has a review of “Travels with Scout”. Here are the highlights:
While not an absolute off the handle laughfest, this was one of the most balanced, entertaining, and funny episodes of Modern Family to date. Balanced in the sense that every major cast member got to do something interesting or funny. And to top it all off we had the legendary Fred Willard rejoining the action as Phil’s dad.
More thoughts on “Travels with Scout”:
EW talked to Fred Willard about his upcoming role in Modern Family. Here are some of the highlights:
You’re reprising your role of Phil’s father, Frank, on Modern Family. Frank shows up in an RV with a little four-legged friend?
Yes, yes, it’s his dog that his wife is allergic to, so he’s driven across country to give it to his son. So there’s some touching moments in that as well.
You worked with the creators of Modern Family and Ty Burrell on Fox’s Back to You. That’s what made them think of you? It’s such great casting.
I never think I’m old enough to play someone’s dad, even though I have a daughter of my own and a grandson. But yeah, Steve Levitan and Chris Lloyd did Back to You and thought of me. And I guess Ty Burrell kept saying, “Gee, we should get Fred Willard on.”
The first time we saw Frank, it was just on a web camera. What will we learn about him now that’s actually visiting in-person?
He’s just kind of a silly character who loves corny jokes, but also has a serious side, a sentimental side.
Do you have scenes with Ed O’Neill this time?
I do. I did Married… With Children years ago with him, and he’s just the most marvelous guy you’d ever want to be with, just a regular blue-collar guy…. There’s a musical scene that’s done in a real club that’s just really wonderful, where Cam bulls his way into playing the drums [for Dylan's band]. We’re part of the group watching and amazed at the, we’ll call it the drum solo. [Laughs] It’s a hysterical scene.
Any plans to return for future episodes?
The problem is, my character lives in Florida. When I left, I said, “I see the whole family going to Disney World in Florida.” “Hey! That’s a great idea!” As with most great ideas, I haven’t heard much more about that. But they did request a photo of me to put in the hallway [of Phil and Claire's home]. So I haven’t been eliminated from the inner circle. They said, “You’re one of the family now, so we need a photograph.” I don’t know if you get paid for that, but there’s my picture.
When Phil and Claire discover a burn mark on the sofa, they try to get a confession out of their children. When no one confesses, Phil dramatically declares Christmas is canceled.
Jay attempts to revive the Christmas tradition with Manny, but fails to consider their different backgrounds. Manny and Gloria do not celebrate Christmas in the same manner, in fact, Manny does not believe in Santa Claus.
Cameron and Mitchell wait in line for Santa at the mall. With their daughter in tow, they demand the fat Santa instead of the skinny one and promptly gets the man fired. Meanwhile, Cameron is furious after seeing his caroling group perform after they kicked him out. Sympathetic for the man, Mitchell and Cameron invite the Santa over.
See the full recap here.
Some reviews come from:
This holiday episode was lighter on the funny moments than most episodes of Modern Family, which isn’t to say that it wasn’t plenty funny. It substituted those with more heartfelt moments. Homeless Santa was able to forgive Cameron and Mitchell for getting him fired with their complaints that he didn’t look enough like St. Nick. They didn’t even have to admit they’d done it; he forgave them after seeing the kindness in their hearts — which may have had a healthy dash of guilt thrown into the mix.
I love it, though, when he punched out Cam’s rival in the chorus. Even after usurping control last year and getting Cam kicked out, he still had to go to his house to rub it in his face, and then when Cameron sucked it up to be the bigger man and show true Christmas spirit, he had to keep on being a jerk. He deserved a good hit.
The best moment of the entire episode came when Jay arrived at his house toward the end of the episode and put down the law that no Colombian traditions were allowed in the house. The looks on Gloria and Manny’s faces were so raw and real, it was painful to see. But when Jay popped back out with “Innocente!” embracing the Colombian tradition of pranks at Christmas, it was simply beautiful. He even had fireworks!
and AV Club:
- Fred Willard? Perfect choice for Phil’s dad. Great little technology joke with only the top half of his head showing up in the video chat.
- Cameron, chastising Mitchell for complaining about the long Santa line, then catching sight of the New Greensleevers: “Somebody needs to get in the holiday sonofabitch!”
- Phil: “I can forgive the smoking, but I can’t forgive the lie.” Catching Claire’s eye: “Or smoking.”
- Scott the Homeless Santa has too many good lines to quote, but I’ll try: In reference to living in his car, “It’s pretty roomy since the wife moved out.” Responding to the dinner invitation, “Can I bring anything? Ketchup, soy sauce, straws?” And of course, the new gay Christmas tradition of a shirtless Santa: “Who wants to try the swing?”
- “Burrito, burr-eye-to.”
- “What happened?” “Doesn’t matter! Wreath, stockings, tree, presents, go!”
‘Modern Family,’ it will be Christmas to “Undeck the Halls”
CHRISTMAS CHEER IS A LITTLE MIXED AS EACH HOUSEHOLD GETS READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS, ON ABC’S “MODERN FAMILY”
“Undeck the Halls” – Christmas is in full swing at the Dunphy house until the kids get in some trouble and Phil and Claire threaten to take away Christmas until one of them fesses up.
Meanwhile, Jay struggles with wanting to stick to his holiday traditions while Gloria and Manny want to incorporate some of their Colombian practices, and Mitchell and Cameron take Lily to the mall for her first picture with Santa — but end up with a disgruntled mall Santa on their hands.
Look for “Modern Family,” TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15 (8:00-8:30 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 12/9/09)
“Modern Family” stars Ed O’Neill as Jay Pritchett, Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy, Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy, Sofía Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett, Eric Stonestreet as Cameron, Sarah Hyland as Haley Dunphy, Nolan Gould as Luke Dunphy, Ariel Winter as Alex Dunphy and Rico Rodriguez as Manny Delgado.
Guest cast include Fred Willard as Phil’s dad, Brian T. Finney as Scott and Jeremy Scott Johnson as Andrew.
“Undeck the Halls” was written by Dan O’Shannon and directed by Randall Einhorn.
Another guest star on “Modern Family”: Fred Willard, who played on “Back To You” with Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, will be welcomed to “Modern Family” by “Back To You” executive producers Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd on December 9th.
ABC confirms that the comedic actor has been cast as Phil (Ty Burrell)’s father, though he’ll appear just briefly on a computer screen as he and Phil chat online during the show’s Christmas episode.