Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Am Not Phil


Hi, I’m Noah! This Summer, my wife and I are having twins! Anyone know where I can get a good deal a on a blue space monkey?

One of my favorite shows on TV these days is a new comedy called Modern Family. In many ways, it’s a pretty typical family sitcom, albeit one shot in that faux-documentary style everyone is using these days. But it’s buoyed by sharp writing and a pitch-perfect cast who delivers consistent, multidimensional, and very funny character performances every week.

A particular standout is Ty Burrell as Phil, a 40ish father of three. Phil is that sitcom standard, the doofy, childlike, suburban dad, but the show brings a new energy and a real humanity to a potentially hoary archetype.

The running gag with Phil is that he desperately wants to be a cool dad and to relate to his kids on their level. For Phil this means learning all the dances to High School Musical and using teen slang like “WTF” which he thinks means “Why the face?”

I’m very nervous that I will turn into Phil in years to come.

There’s no question that I am roughly as dorky as Phil, at least proportionately for the real world. I am, however, slightly more self-aware. I know I’m not cool. There might have been a time when I attempted to be, or at least convinced myself I was, but I have long since abandoned such illusions.

I think the nail in the coffin came a few years back when I bought a Weird Al album –

The fact that I was buying Weird Al albums in my late 20s or early 30s was probably a sign I wasn’t particularly cutting edge –

And, when I got it home, I discovered that I didn’t recognize any of the songs he was parodying. Not only was I out of it, culturally, but I was significantly less cool than Weird Al Yankovic. Not a good day.

So the advantage that this self-awareness gives me over Phil is that now, unlike him, I have utterly no desire for my kids to think I’m cool.

If my kids grow up thinking I’m cool, they are completely screwed. Any child who uses me a as a role model for how to seem hip might as well just pre-wedgie themselves every morning before they leave the house.

So which way do I go? Do I censor myself? Hide all my comic books? Try to make it through the day without referencing Monty Python, every day for the next eighteen years?

These are tough questions! I didn’t expect the Spanish Inqu … DAMMIT!

Or do I go in the extreme opposite direction and crank UP my natural dorkiness so high that it annoys my kids so much that they rebel against me by being cool.

Or maybe there’s a middle ground, where I just monitor the kids for how cool they are and if they’re not cool enough I just … buy them some cigarettes or something.

Decisions, decisions.

Anyway, the point is, I need to do SOMETHING to make sure my kids don’t think I’m cool. Not if I ever want them get laid before they turn 30.

Hold on … if my kids don’t have sex until they’re 30, that would save me a lot of tsuris. Maybe there’s something to be said for having dorky kids.

Hmm … yeah …

Tonight, I think I’ll wait till Amanda’s asleep, then I’ll put headphone on her belly and play the twin the Dead Parrot sketch.




  1. Black socks with sandals ... decidedly uncool every time! We don't watch American Family, but it sounds like I need to add it to the TiVo list (even though it already runneth over).

  2. I do highly recommend it. I also like "The Middle," though I think it's sunk a little after starting strong.

  3. Don't worry, your kids will think you are totally uncool about 47 seconds after they turn 13. I bet Brad Pitt's kids will think he's a dork when they become teenagers too.

    I think we become smarter and more cool again once they get older. But I'm not counting on that. mom, interrupted