There's around a zillion "PHP frameworks". And most of them bill themselves as following the MVC pattern. While it's welcome to overcome osCommerce coding style (processing logic heavily intermixed with SQL and HTML), there are certainly simpler and easier to follow approaches to get a maintainable application design.
The original MVC concept was targetted at GUI applications. And for Gtk/Python it seems feasible to follow it accordingly. But PHP web apps don't operate on live Views (GUI elements) and a persistent Controller runtime. It's quite certainly a misnomer if it just describes the used code + directory grouping or class naming.
"MVC" seems to be used like a buzzword for PHP frameworks. And I've actually seen one or two mature PHP frameworks admit it, but redefining the phrase anyway to match interna.
So is it generally snake oil? Why isn't better terminology used, and a more sensible concept for maintainable PHP propagated?
Some elaborative reasoning
Why I suspect that PHP implementations don't follow the real MVC pattern:
Models: in theory, Models should be fat and contain business logic, and controllers should be thin handlers (input->output). In reality the PHP frameworks advocate shallow Models. CI and Symfony for example equate Model == ORM. Even HTTP input is handled by the controller, isn't treated as model.
Views: workarounds with AJAX discounted, there can't be Views on web pages. PHP frameworks still pump out pages. The interface still effectively follows the ordinary HTTP model, there's no advantage over non-MVC applications. (And lastly, none of the widespread php frameworks can factually output to GUI Views instead of HTML. I've seen a PHP library that can operate Gtk/Console/Web, but the frameworks don't.)
Controller: I'm unsure. Controllers probably don't need to be long-running and persistently active in the MVC model. In PHP framework context, they're however mostly request handlers. Not really something to get argumentative about, but it just feels slightly buzzwordish.
Would there be better descriptors? I've seen acronyms like PMVC or HMVC thrown around. Though descriptions get more ambigous there, maybe these would describe the current web frameworks less hokey?