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Listen, I... I know things seem dark. But you have to look on the bright side. So your parents burned down towns. You don't have to be like your parents. My parents were Olympic athletes and look at me. I work in a lumbermill.

Phil is an optimist who worked at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill in The Miserable Mill. He later returned as a cook for Captain Widdershins and Fiona on the Queequeg in The Grim Grotto.


Early Life

No one has knocked on this door for fourteen years.
— Chapter Two

Phil began working in Lucky Smells Lumbermill, operated by Sir and Charles, at least fourteen years prior to the arrival of the Baudelaire orphans. As an optimist, he didn't pay much attention to the harsh working conditions or miserable treatment the workers received; they were not given much safety precautions, and were only paid in coupons and their five-minute lunch break consisted only of gum.

One of Phil's main jobs was to turn on the string machine, which strung boards together with complicated knots. The other workers seemed to greatly enjoy his company, as they quickly offer to help him when need be and are angry when he's hurt.

While the employees of Lucky Smells were given free eye exams by Georgina Orwell, Phil never seems to have been present at her office, as he believed her to be male. Nobody visited him or the other workers for fourteen years prior to The Miserable Mill, and Sir stopped talking to them directly about six years before.

The month before the Baudelaires arrived, the workers were paid in coupons or 50% off a cast at Ahab Memorial Hospital. The week before the arrival of the Baudelaires, Foreman Firstein stopped showing up, and he was replaced by Flacutono. Though the other mill workers hated him, Phil remained optimistic.[1]

The Miserable Mill

Phil: Well, if you look on the bright side, you're really quite lucky.
Klaus Baudelaire: What do you mean?
Phil: Well, let me think... You're alive. That's lucky. And I'm sure we can think of something else.
The Miserable Mill

Phil welcomes Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire to the mill, though he is incredibly confused by their presence, stating that children should not be working such a difficult job. He gives them a quick tour of the dormitory and introduction to their life, before helping serve them dinner.

Phil with the other lumbermill workers.

Flacutono awakens the workers by banging metal pots together, and Phil happily wishes him a good morning. He shows his new coworkers how to get debarkers for the log day, and when they complain about the lunch of gum, he explains to them that it is the only meal they will have until dinner, and that they don't have the funds or materials to buy more food.

Over the next few days, Phil continues working with the Baudelaires. They mention their dislike of the mill, and Phil tells them to look on the bright side, as their enemy, Count Olaf, has not arrived yet.

When Klaus has to go to Dr. Orwell's office, Phil reassures Violet and Sunny over dinner that he'll be alright, as the sisters are incredibly worried. They are too tired to argue with his optimism and blankly agree with him, though they stay up all night waiting.

Klaus acts strange the next day, and though Violet warns Phil that she believes something is wrong, he assures her that they have an easy day- stamping day. Though she continues to protest, he asks her not to make trouble. He cheerfully watches Klaus operate the stamping machine, assuring Violet and Sunny that they worried for nothing, but as they are talking, Klaus misoperates the machine, and the huge stone is brought down onto Phil's leg, making a grotesque sight. He continues to try to look on the bright side, claiming that at least it hit his left leg and he's right-legged. Two other workers offer to chip in their hospital coupons so he can get a cast. Phil is later rushed out to the hospital in an ambulance.

Phil returns later that day in a cast, and though the other workers are angry at Klaus for the accident, Phil remains kind and considerate towards him, though the boy seems to not recall the incident at all. He then hands Violet a memo sent from Sir. They seem upset, so he reminds them that bad news could be a blessing in disguise. Violet and Sunny leave to see Sir, though Phil warns them they won't be welcome without an appointment, and beg Phil to keep a very close eye on Klaus, who is once again acting strange.

That night, Orwell's hypnotism is discovered and her secretary, Shirley (Count Olaf in disguise) and the Foreman Flacutono are captured. Phil is left to guard them in front of the library, and as he does, he reads over The Paltryville Constitution, realizing that Sir has been treating them illegally. He stays outside the door until he hears breaking glass, and enters to find that Olaf and the Foreman- the Bald Man with the Long Nose- have escaped. He informs the Baudelaires that the bright side of their situation is that they're alive, though he can't seem to think of anything else.

Inbetween The Miserable Mill and The Grim Grotto

I'm so glad to see you, children. You know, I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you. I was so horrified after what happened in Paltryville that I couldn't stay at Lucky Smells and since then my life has been one big adventure!
— Phil, The Grim Grotto

Phil, horrified at what happened with the Baudelaires and tired of working in the lumber industry, leaves Lucky Smells, sure he can find a better job. He is hired by Captain Widdershins to work as a cook on his "dilapidated submarine", the Queequeg. There, he became acquainted with Widdershins's stepdaughter Fiona, though she sometimes found his optimism tiresome.

He mentions that his first day aboard the Queequeg was very hectic, and made the lumbermill seem calm and quiet- presumably due to Widdershins's rambling and the ship's disrepair. Phil seems to be apprehensive about possibly disobeying the Captain, as he is nervous when Fiona later suggests breaking out the soda; Widdershins, for his part, disliked Phil not saying "aye" like the others, instead preferring to shout "hooray." Widdershins also referred to Phil exclusively as "Cookie" instead of his name, for no particular reason.

He works as a cook, and using the submarine's nets he catches cod, though the only other things they have are a sack of potatoes, gum leftover from the lumbermill, and few other supplies. The week before the Baudelaires arrived on the Queequeg, Phil was bitten by a shark on the same leg that was broken earlier. He considers himself lucky to get so close to a deadly animal.

It is unknown how aware he was of VFD and The Sugar Bowl at this point, but considering he was on a VFD submarine and was present for many conversations involving the organization, he likely gained some form of knowledge of it, if he was not recruited as a member. This potential recruitment could be backed up by him claiming that after leaving Lucky Smells, his life has been "one big adventure."

The Queequeg was then sent on a VFD mission to track the Sugar Bowl from where it had fallen in the Stricken Stream.[2]

The Grim Grotto

We'll be wishing you the best!
— Phil, The Grim Grotto

Phil excitedly greets the Baudelaires as they come aboard the Queequeg, and though he seems apprehensive, he agrees with Fiona that they should celebrate the special occasion by bringing out soda- when Violet requests anything but parsley, he agrees to bring them lemon-lime, as sailors should always have citrus in their system.

Phil and Sunny cooking in the kitchen.

Sunny is instructed to help Phil in the kitchen, and he explains to her that they're a bit low on supplies. Sunny suggests making chowder, and Phil is excited by the meal, and informs the crew at their next meeting that her teeth were very handy in dicing the boiled potatoes. While in the kitchen, Sunny and Phil prepare a birthday cake for Violet for the next night as a surprise.

The Queequeg is approached by another submarine, and Widdershins hurriedly instructs them to turn everything off to avoid being spotted. Phil and Sunny run to the kitchen to turn off the stove, before returning to watch the sonar. They see the other submarine- The Carmelita, piloted by Olaf, is chased off by a question mark on the sonar, and Phil remarks that Olaf was likely in a good mood anyway. He and Sunny then serve the chowder, and gum for dessert.

Klaus plots them a course for the Gorgonian Grotto, mentioning that once they reach the cave they will be in uncharted waters, something Phil finds exciting. Even after Fiona mentions the cave is infested with Medusoid Mycelium, Phil struggles to remain optimistic and says that the fungus couldn't hurt them inside the submarine.

Phil and Widdershins pilot the submarine into the cave, though they reach a point that is too tight for the machine to squeeze through. Phil tries to smile through his grim feeling, and Widdershins then instructs the children to go into the Grotto themselves to find the Sugar Bowl. Phil compliments them, telling them that at least Olaf won't be in the grotto.

While the Baudelaires and Fiona are gone, Phil decorates the Main Hall with balloons spelling VFD- Violet's Fifteenth Date. However, a woman arrives that tells Widdershins something that convinces him to abandon the children. Phil leaves with him, both of them taking their diving helmets.

Later Life

It is completely unknown what happened to Phil after this. Kit Snicket does not mention him aboard the Queequeg when it was destroyed and attacked by the Great Unknown, though it is possible that he was there and met the same fate as his crewmates, Fernald, Hector and the Quagmire triplets.

Netflix Series Divergent Canon

Phil speaking to the Baudelaires in the dormitory.

Phil mentions that his parents are Olympic athletes. He uses it as an example that people have free will and don't always have to follow the expectations and footsteps of their parents, saying the Baudelaires don't have to burn down towns like their parents did, although it is eventually revealed the Baudelaire parents were not responsible for the burning of Paltryville.

In the series, Phil is hypnotized by Dr. Georgina Orwell much like the rest of the workers. Instead of staying behind with Violet and Sunny, he takes Klaus to Orwell's office, greeting her and letting her take Klaus back for his "appointment."[3]

"Oh, boy! Half-price pedicures for life!"

When his leg "accident" occurs, he jokes that he will have half-price pedicures for life. His leg seems to be crushed flat by the stamp, with a stamp-mark still present underneath his cast. As he was at the hospital during the riot, it is unknown if he was completely unhypnotized.[4]

He later returns as a cook on the Queequeg, where he prepares meals almost exclusively with gum. He now sports a peg leg after an unfortunate encounter with a shark. He also was not working with Widdershins but Fiona, who has already been abandoned by her stepfather.

Count Olaf and Esmé Squalor soon invade the ship, and Phil accidentally gives away their position by complimenting her outfit. He is excited when he finds out he will get to see a Brig on The Carmelita.[5] Once aboard, he is required to row the ship with the other kidnapped recruits and listen to Carmelita Spats's performances, which causes one of his eyes to bleed until it clots up and gives him an eye infection, resulting in him wearing an eyepatch.[6] While aboard, he also plays veterinarian with Carmelita.[7]

When Violet makes a false Great Unknown alarm, the Snow Scouts riot, and Esmé orders Phil to stop them. He makes an attempt, but one of the scouts knocks him over, and he is trampled.[6]

It is unknown what happened to him after this, but as Fernald and Fiona later capture the sub, it is assumed they managed to free him and the Snow Scouts.[7]

He is portrayed by Chris Gauthier.


The Miserable Mill

You're going to work here, too? Children, working in a lumber-mill is a very difficult job. Trees have to be stripped off their bark and sawed into narrow strips to make boards. The boards have to be tied together into stacks and loaded onto trucks. I must tell you that the majority off people who work in the lumber business are grown-ups. But if the owner says you're working here, I guess you're working here.
— Chapter Two
The owners says they're going to work here, so they're going to work here.
— Chapter Two
Phil: He is pretty bad. The guy we used to have, Foreman Firstein, was O.K. But last week he stopped showing up. It was very odd. The man who replaced him, Foreman Flacutono, is very mean. You'll stay on his good side if you know what's good for you.
A Woman Employee: He doesn't have a good side.
Phil: Now, now. Everything and everybody has a good side. Come on, let's have our supper.
—Chapter Two
Good morning, Baudelaires. And good morning, Foreman Flacutono. May I introduce you to your three newest employees? Foreman Flacutono, this is Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire.
— Chapter Three
You'd better eat your gum. It's not very filling, but it's the only thing they'll let you eat until dinnertime.
— Chapter Three
At the Lucky Smells Lumbermill, they don't pay us in money. They pay us in coupons. See, here's what we all earned yesterday: twenty percent off a shampoo at Sam's Haircutting Palace. The day before that we earned this coupon for a free refill of iced tea, and last week we earned this one: 'Buy Two Banjos and Get One Free.' The trouble is, we can't buy two banjos, because we don't have anything but these coupons.
— Chapter Three
Look on the bright side. Lucky Smells Lumbermill might not be your favorite place, but at least there's no sign of this Olaf guy you keep talking about. This might turn out to be the most fortunate part of your lives.
— Chapter Five
I know that doctors can seem scary to young children, but doctors are your friends, and they can't hurt you.
— Chapter Six
Phil: Come on, children. Let's hurry to the lumbermill.
Violet Baudelaire: Phil, there's something wrong with my brother. He scarcely says a word to us, he doesn't seem to remember anything, and look! He didn't put on his shoes this morning!
Phil: Well, look on the bright side. We're supposed to finish tying today, and next we do the stamping. Stamping is the easiest part of the lumber business.
Violet Baudelaire: I don't care about the lumber business! Something is wrong with Klaus!
Phil: Let's not make trouble, Violet.
—Chapter Seven
You see? There's nothing wrong with Klaus. He's working the machine perfectly. You spent all that time worrying for nothing.
— Chapter Seven
Well, this isn't too bad. My left leg is broken, but at least I'm right legged. That's pretty fortunate.
— Chapter Seven
Worker: I'm surprised you can show your faces around here, after what you did to Phil.
Phil: Oh, come now. Klaus didn't mean to do it, did you, Klaus?
—Chapter Nine
Bad news? Remember, sometimes something might seem like bad news, but it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
— Chapter Ten
Violet Baudelaire: Hello, Phil. How is your leg?
Phil: Oh, it's getting better. I've been guarding the door, Sir, and neither Shirley nor Foreman Flacutono have escaped. Oh, and by the way, I've been reading this book, The Paltryville Constitution. I don't understand all of the words, but it sounds like it's illegal to pay people only in coupons.
Sir, quickly: We'll talk about that later.
—Chapter Thirteen

The Grim Grotto

I was tired of working in the lumber industry. I was sure I could find a better job, and look at me now- cook on a dilapidated submarine. Life keeps on getting better and better.
— Chapter Two
You must be overwhelmed, Baudelaires. I remember my first day aboard the Queequeg - it made Lucky Smells Lumbermill seem calm and quiet!
— Chapter Three
I'll bring you some lemon-lime. Sailors should always make sure there's plenty of citrus in their system.
— Chapter Three
Klaus Baudelaire: I'm sorry that your leg never healed. I didn't realize the accident with the stamping machine was so serious.
Phil: That's not why I'm limping. I was bitten by a shark last week. It was very painful, but I'm quite lucky. Most people never get an opportunity to get close to such a deadly animal!
—Chapter Three
I knew we'd be safe. Olaf is probably in a good mood anyway.
— Chapter Four
I couldn't be happier about it. I thought I'd never see you Baudelaires again, and here you are! All three of you have grown up so nicely, even though you've been constantly pursued by an evil villain and falsely accused of numerous crimes!
— Chapter Five
Klaus Baudelaire: I guess we'll be travelling in uncharted waters.
Phil: That'll be fun.
—Chapter Five
Violet Baudelaire: A Gorgon. Like that woman with snakes instead of hair.
Fiona: She could turn people into stone.
Phil: She was probably nice, when you got to know her.
Captain Widdershins: Aye! I think I went to school with such a woman!
—Chapter Five
You youngsters look very spiffy in those helmets! I know you must be a little nervous, but I'm sure all of you children will rise to the occasion!
— Chapter Six
But look on the bright side. Whatever terrible things may be lurking in that cave, you won't find Count Olaf. There's no way that octopus submarine could fit!
— Chapter Six


  • "Phil" is an English name, meaning "friend, dear, beloved," likely referencing his optimistic and friendly attitude.




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