Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Modern Family Theory: Gil Thorpe Was In Love With Phil

Many believe that every hero needs a nemesis — someone who can push back on the heroe's agenda, causing conflict and emotional reactions. If one throws "Modern Family's" Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) into the "hero" category, then his nemesis would be his real estate rival Gil Thorpe (Rob Riggle). 

Although Gil's constant poking at Phil's sanity may appear to be fairly cut and dry on the surface, some fans have a theory that these combative interactions come from a repressed, romantic place as some believe the professional rival was in love with Phil.

"Conspiracy theory," u/mnlxyz posted on Reddit, "Gil Thorpe was messing with Phil a lot because secretly he had a crush on him. The OP's theory also includes the fact that Gil comes out as gay later in the series. 

"I am rewatching the show and noticed that most of Gil's bullying and nagging involves Gil saying he's going to do things to Phil that are of weirdly sexual nature, at least considering Gil's usual machismo," u/foxinawesome posted in agreement, and u/AlarmedBookkeeper448 had the exact same thought.

Gil came out as gay but never admitted any feelings for Phil

First appearing toward the end of Season 4, Gil Thorpe is introduced as Phil Dunphy's business rival, seeming to always one up him in the real estate game. Popping up in a total of eight episodes, the character never misses a chance to swipe at Phil's ego and business inferiority. Rob Riggle's performance was enough to cause chatter of a possible Gil Thorpe spin-off series, which never came to fruition. 

In Season 10, Episode 8, "Kids These Days," Gil comes out as gay. It is this revelation that likely leads to some fans theorizing he is in love with Phil. Not every "Modern Family" viewer believes Gil's antagonistic behavior toward Phil comes from a place of secret love, though. 

"I think he's just an idiot, honestly," u/SeptemberSoup posted. Meanwhile, u/chileanbassfarmer has an explanation for why Gil is so mean. "Based on Gil's family tree, however, you can see his mean-spirited, machismo sense of humor is a family trademark," they posted. 

Whether or not Gil truly has romantic feelings toward Phil may never be known, but it's always fun to look back at these episodes and wonder what the true intentions and feelings of characters like Gil are.