- “You do know you doomed us all just to humiliate me one last time?”
- — Grif on Sarge's agreement to break into command.
Captain Dexter Grif is a main fictional character in Red vs. Blue. He is voiced by Geoff Ramsey, co-creator of the series. Grif is the slacker of the Red Team, and a wise-cracking loudmouth to boot. Grif, along with Simmons, is one of two characters to appear in every episode of The Blood Gulch Chronicles, first appearing in the trailer.
The wisecracking loudmouth of the Reds, Grif is somewhat self-centered, acerbic, and lazy. He is also despised by his teammates Sarge and Simmons. Simmons and Grif often bicker or chat with each other about the various situations that the Reds encounter. Although Grif's laziness does create problems for the Reds, Sarge always blames him when things go wrong, regardless of Grif's (or anyone else's) actual guilt in the matter. He regards Donut with disdain, thinking him unintelligent, and evidently despises the rookie's general enthusiasm.
Grif has even admitted to being lazy. He has repeatedly admitted to sleeping during staff meetings and neglecting to do his assigned tasks. In one instance when Sarge orders him to run over and find out what Donut was doing. Grif responded by saying "Or I could just look through the sniper rifle, because that worked the last 800 times."
With respect to personality, Grif is fairly brash and has a flair for melodrama. He is quick to make silly theories or insults, even toward people who could clearly kill him without hesitation. Physically, a lifetime with smoking and eating processed snacks has left Grif in the worst of shape for a soldier in the military.
In Episode 81, Rooster Teeth reveals a new character in Grif's sister, who joins him in the canyon before revealing she is a Blue, and Grif hands her over to the Blues to protect her. Later, when it is revealed that Sarge is still alive, Grif shows his fear of bats when asked to go into the caves to look for him. His fear is largely paranoid, as he becomes jumpy and nervous numerous moments, even when bats have nothing to do with the situation, such as when he hears some water dripping and he immediately becomes fearful. When attacked by aggressors unidentified by the Reds, Grif refers to one of them as a "bat-person", owing to its inhuman appearance.
Grif reappears in Chapter 8 of Reconstruction, having rejoined Sarge and Simmons. He proceeds to accidentally crash the Warthog directly into a windmill blade and the nearby ditch.
In Chapter 9 of Reconstruction, viewers learned that Grif had been promoted to Sergeant when Sarge refused his relocation orders. At "Rat's Nest", Grif and Simmons were being executed by their own team because the former had stolen the Red Team's ammo and sold it to the Blues. Just before Grif and Simmons were to be shot, Sarge sped by in the Warthog and stopped the bullets. Sarge doesn't seem to be able to comprehend that Grif is the same rank as himself and later had Agent Washington demote him. Though Wash made him a private, Sarge felt the rank wasn't negative enough, so Wash gave the fictional rank he formerly possessed of Minor Junior Private Dexter Grif Negative First Class. He was promoted to the rank of "Captain" however in Season 11 Episode 19, along with Lavernius Tucker, Richard "Dick" Simmons and Michael J. Caboose
In the Red vs. Blue: Animated video that was shown at PAX 2008, Grif appeared to be left handed and overweight. The left-handed aspect might be because his voice actor Geoff Ramsey is also left-handed.
Role in Plot
Grif's presence on the Red Team is actually not by choice. There was a discrepancy in the numbers of recruits between the armies after a medic, Doc, was fired from the Red Army, and to counterbalance the problem, the first universal draft was held, and the unlucky draftee was none other than Grif.
In Season One, at the start of the series, Grif is seen conversing with Simmons regarding 'why they are here' in which Grif goes on a thoughtful rant, he is shot down by Simmon's question as to why they are in the canyon. Later, they are called down by Sarge to name the new Warthog, which goes through a multitude of names, and to be informed of a new rookie joining their ranks. Later, when Sarge leaves to receive orders from Command, he and Simmons meet up with Donut, who they briefly confuse with Sarge due to the same armor color, but due to the annoyance he is, they send him off to buy headlight fluid and elbow grease at the store. After some time, Grif spots Donut, who has the Blue Team Flag, and joins Simmons in rescuing him with the use of the Warthog. They manage to pin down Church and Tucker behind a rock, but then decided to leave it and try to sneak around the back, only to retreat from Caboose and Sheila. Later, he, Simmons and Donut are being fired down upon by Sheila at their own base, but are rescued by an air-strike set up by Sarge. He is the blamed for the Warthog's destruction, and is shot at by Lopez. After some time, after Donut obtains his 'light red' armor for getting the Blue Flag, he is knocked out along with Simmons and Donut, the latter being gravely injured, by Tex, who punches him in the face. After Tex is captured, he, along with Simmons, is assigned to guard her, but is called by Sarge to assist with Tucker and Caboose, each one covered in 'black stuff'. When Sarge is shot by Caboose in the head, Grif saves him with CPR, though is reprimanded due to the illogical use of treatment for a head wound, though Simmons was being praised for this same act. Afterward, he reveals that he did not know that Lopez was a robot, thinking that quiet guy who drank motor oil to 'impress him' and spend some time trying to figure out what Lopez is saying. During Tex's second assault on Red Base, he is assigned to guard the Red's ramp while Sarge and Simmons try and fend off Tex, though they fail at this. He is later seen watching as Lopez, possessed by Church, goes after the dying Tex.
He is first seen in Season Two attacking the Blue with his fellow Reds, though his failure to bring extra ammo force them to try and force the Blues to surrender. After some negotiating, the Reds receive Doc, while Grif publicly announces that he is a girl, who likes to wear dresses, ribbons, and likes to kiss all the boys, much to Sarge's delight. He is then later seen talking with Doc, who denies this saying that if he wants to make any headway around the base, he cannot be seen around Grif, seeing as how he is not that popular. Some time later, when the Reds decided they no longer want Doc, he and Simmons are sent to return him to the Blues, only to find Church and Tucker in a compromising position, and becomes insulted when Church does not turn around to face them. When Doc is rejected, Grif and Simmons leave him in the middle of the canyon. Later, is forced to stay back at the base and 'talk' with Donut, while Sarge and Simmons deal with Lopez, who has escaped from Church, but due to the new cobalt paint job, is mistaken for a Blue. He then reports a 'new Blue' to the teams after he spies on them through a sniper rifle. After Sarge decides to turn Simmons into a cyborg, he and Simmons go in search for parts they can use, and end up at the Warthog, but they both panic when Tucker, driving Sheila, is unable to find the break and runs over Grif. It is later revealed that Grif had survived the tank, due to Sarge transplanting Simmons' leftover organs into him. Simmons then gets angry at Grif for misuse of his organs for drinking, smoking and overeating. When Sarge announces that Lopez has orders from Command in his head, he send Grif and Donut to spy on the Blues. Grif, becoming annoyed by Donut, who constantly talks about being a 'spy' send him into the cave, where he meets Doc talking with O'Malley, and then captured by the Blues. In exchange for Donut, Sarge builds two new robots, one of which punches Grif when someone says 'dirtbag', After the Mexican Stand-off against the Blues and robots, O'Malley's attack, him and Lopez leaving through the Red's teleporter, and the Red-Blue truce, he, along with the others Reds and Blue, save for Donut and Sheila, go through the teleporter, only to end up in Sidewinder with Church, where they are captured by Mas Gain.
In Season Three, Grif and Church are both to be shown imprisoned by Sidewinder's Reds, and while Church is confused as to why the Reds are still there, when Tex killed the Blues, while Grif remarks that this is not a surprise. When Caboose unknowingly arms the bomb in Church's stomach, which comes out as a burp, Grif is impressed by it, and say he can top it. They are later confronted by Wyoming, who has just killed all of Sidewinder's Reds, and after bantering with Church, he leaves them to starve, only for their cell to open for unknown reasons. They then both later join up with the rest of their respective teams as they are doing battle with O'Malley, but Grif is blown into the 'future', where he, and the rest of his squad, and Caboose try to explain to Tucker what has happened via a play. After exploring the wasteland, Grif gives out a number Hollywood post-apocalyptic clichés, to explain what may have happened. He then agrees with Tucker to pimp out the new Warthog they have found to attract women. Later, both Grif and Simmons are sent to scope the area out, though they fail at this when the trap the Warthog in a ditch while trying to preform several 'Dukes of Hazard-like stunts', and then go off in search of Tex, who has sent them a distress message. When the Reds and Blue meet up with Tex, they begin to discuss an attack plan on O'Malley's fortress, though they reject Sarge's plans (one of which is something called the Grif cannon'). When the attack begins, Grif and Simmons are sent to look for O'Malley, but when they are unable to find him, are called to the base's computer, which hold a recording of Church, who warns them about the sword. They are all then trapped inside while the bomb is set to explode. His escape plan is to eat through the wall. Thankfully, Church appears from the 'past' and disables the bomb with help from 'Gary', whom he had met in the 'past'. Afterward, Grif, Sarge and Simmons discuss a distress signal they received over their jeep's radio while Donut distracts the Blues. While preparing to locate the signal, Grif is sent to spy on the Blues to see what they are doing, only to become confused by their attempts to sooth Andy. During O'Malley's robot attack, Sarge mistakes this for the Blues, and orders Grif to act as a shield, though Grif wishes to assist Donut (who is running around screaming). During their escape, Grif, along with Simmons and Sarge, is able to secure a seat on the Warthog, leaving Donut to walk, and they follow the signal, and upon finding that the signal is coming from Blood Gulch, he begins a loud "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!", thus, ending the season.
At the start of Season 4, Grif has been screaming in despair atop the cliff for several hours, despite the efforts of his team to coax him down. They do manage to get him down though, when they begin to shoot at him with sniper rifles (during which a Sarge comment leads to the creation of Grifball in the real Halo games). Later, as Sarge is giving about awareness, he, Simmons and Donut, witness Sheila roam around Red Base, while Sarge remains oblivious to her. When Simmons tries to convince Sarge about Sheila, Grif claims he did not see her, just to mess with Simmons. When Simmons is banished from the Reds because Sarge thinks he has gone insane, he appoints Grif Simmons' old position, only to lose it shortly after due to his laziness. When Sarge holds a contest for the spot of 'Number Two', Grif is automatically disqualified, though is still entered just so he could be last. When Donut if promoted, and some time has passed, he converses with Simmons (now dressed in mostly blue armor) regarding Simmons' plans to destroy the Reds, by making them jealous, though he fails at this. After this, when Simmons and Sheila begin to attack Red Base, Grif is able to convince Simmons to stop his attack, and to come back, but Sarge refuses to let Simmons come back because he is now in Blue armor, (though Sarge was understanding about him attacking the base). Grif is then taken prisoner by Simmons and brought to Blue Base, though he complains about being treated nicely. Simmons then tries to push him into the Blue Base's hole, though he pops back out due to the grav lift inside. Simmons then tries multiple more times to push him back in with the same result. After playing with the grav lift for a while, he is knocked-out/rescued by Sarge, who is then knocked out by Simmons when Church arrives. Both of them are brought back to Red Base as part of the Red's surrender to the Blues, while the Blues get the Warthog. When Sarge and Grif wake up, they do not believe him about his portrayal of him rescuing them. When Simmons tries to return to the Reds, both Grif and Sarge make this difficult for him. When Simmons does return, a mock-trial is held for him, in which Grif acts as the Defense, and settles for a hefty fine which it to be split between him and Sarge when he points out Donut would try to be the bailiff in hot-pants. When some times passes, the Reds restart their mission to retrieve Lopez's head, which has vital information from Command, though Grif thinks that the information is the same generic orders they have been getting all along. When they do manage to get Lopez back, this is proved true, though it is in Spanish. When Sarge suggests using Andy to translate, Grif points out that bombs explode, and huddling around one is dangerous. When Andy does translate this, Grif tries to comfort a depressed Sarge by allowing him to insult him. When Reds are then attacked by Church and Sheila, and learn about Tucker's pregnancy, they become confused, and later call for back-up. When Sheila leaves on her own accord, and Church because he is outnumbered, the back-up ship arrives, and lands on Donut.
At the start of season 5, Grif and the others are seen standing over the ship trying to figure out what the weird banging noise from inside is. Church having comeback immediately calls dibs on the ship. The Reds having then realized they hadn't were angry with Church. As things would have Church left and a woman emerges from the ship. Her name is Kaikaina Grif, and she is Grif's younger sister. Grif immediately tries to have her leave, but she refuses and says she has been sent as a replacement for a lower class soldier of the squad; and that one of them will be promoted as the replacement for their deceased leader. The Reds initially are shocked and Sarge refuses, saying that he is obviously alive. However, Grif tells him that if this is true then Command has made a mistake and is apparently not always right. Upon hearing this the Reds prepare for Sarge's Funeral. After the burial, Simmons promotes himself and becomes a tyrannical leader. Shortly thereafter the Reds learn that Grif's Sister is actually there as a member of Blue team and that the deceased leader she was talking about was Captain Butch Flowers and the promotion to the lower class soldier was for Church. After convincing Simmons to help dig up Sarge, Grif takes his sister over to Blue team and tells them she is on their side. He does this in an attempt to protect her from Sarge and Simmons, but regrets his action after Tucker says he plans on sleeping with her. He and Simmons go down into the cave to find Sarge and are jumped by some unknown people. They kidnap Grif and Sarges shotgun, which is why Sarge and the others come looking for Grif (to find the Shotgun). They find both and shortly after find Vic's control panel.
Grif and the others see his sisters armor laying on the ground and presume she has died. Grif becomes distraught and depressed, until he finds out she is actually just naked. He then threatens to kill her for insulting the family name of Grif. One of his statements before the revelation of her nudity is that she survived being under frozen water for several hours, and was pregnant on being pulled out.
Perhaps the largest change Grif had to undergo was after he was run over by Sheila in Season Two and Sarge had to implant Simmons' organs in him. After this, he continues to function as per usual. Even with his promotion to Staff Sergeant, he is still as much of a slacker as he was before.
Relationship With Other Characters
Grif's relationship with his superiors provides much of the humor for the Red Team, especially his relationship with Sarge. As evidenced from the outset, Sarge holds Grif in such low regard that he tends to disagree with anything Grif says, even if it happens to be true; a prime example of this is when Sarge claims the animals the walrus and the puma do not exist simply because Grif mentioned them and he, Sarge, had never heard of them.
Throughout the series, the pair bicker back and forth, and Sarge frequently devises battle plans that either directly or indirectly will result in Grif's death. In season four, Sarge even admitted to trying to kill Grif in his sleep. In addition, Grif was also killed by Sarge in at least a few instances of the extra episodes.
However, despite his constant flippant disregard for Sarge's authority, Grif seems to care at least a little about Sarge, as he was quite upset when Caboose almost killed Sarge. When the useless instructions from Red Command cause Sarge to become depressed in Episode 77, Grif attempts to lift Sarge's spirits by suggesting that Sarge insult him. On Sarge's part, he once tried to order Grif to help him eat a large amount of ice cream, though Grif was not aware that this was what Sarge wanted. Also, Sarge saved Grif's life once after Grif was run over by Sheila. Sarge quickly operated on Grif and replaced all of his damaged organs (and even some of his good ones) that he had taken from Simmons when Sarge had made Simmons into a cyborg. When Sarge, Grif and Caboose were trapped in a minefield, Grif, believing he will die, admitted to Sarge he felt no respect to him as a man or as a leader. Sarge immediately tried to shot him, only for Grif to point out his shotgun has a limited range (which Grif was outside of).
Grif's relationship with Simmons is more complex. Simmons talks down to him and frequently expresses his displeasure of him, while Grif enjoys making Simmons look like a fool and often reminds him that he is pathetically sycophantic to (i.e., is a total kiss-ass to,) Sarge. Despite their disdain for one another, the pair is often seen together, chatting and bickering. This once led Tucker to assume that they are in love, and wonder why they don't see it. They share a love-hate relationship, with Grif acting the foil to Simmons's straight man. Grif and Simmons have an ongoing gag of calling "shotgun" (passenger seat) to almost every vehicle they encounter. Grif always, with the exception of one time, fails to call shotgun first. This is continued in Reconstruction episode 9 when Simmons calls shotgun and Grif pulls rank and tells him to get in the back, ending this row. Geoff Ramsey also confirmed that Grif is secretly in love with Simmons on the Cockbite Radio podcast.
With the introduction of Grif's sister, Grif displays a protective trait. When she lands in the canyon, he immediately tells her to leave. When this doesn't happen and she is later revealed to be a Blue, he hastily hands her over to the Blues in order to protect her from Sarge and Simmons, a decision he regrets when Tucker announces an intention to have sex with her. Later, in Episode 93, when he mistakenly believes her to be dead, he lapses into shock and despair, although this gives way to fury when he learns she is simply naked. This is shown again in Episode 96 when the Reds plan to counter-assault Blue base and Grif states that nobody else except him hurts Sister, claiming it is his job.
Intelligence and Initiative
One of Grif's main traits, and most ambiguous, is the question of his intelligence. It has been called into question numerous times, both through his actions and conversations. He mispronounces words like both, which he pronounces as bolth in Episode 14; and margin, which he pronounces as margarine in Episode 55. He also claimed not to know what jogging is (though this was likely just a wisecrack comment made to enforce his slacker nature) and revealed in Relocated that he thought electricity was "invisible magic" (a belief shared by Caboose, however Grif's comment was probably sarcastic). Not completely clueless, however, he is also often the first one to point out the flaws in Sarge's plans; largely because many of these plans involve Grif's demise, and Simmons only criticizes Sarge when his own death is involved. When Simmons defects to the Blue Team, Church tells him that Grif is the smartest one on the Red Team, though this may also be a way to purposely upset Simmons for fun. However, in Episode 85, Church mentions to Tucker that although he considers the other Reds to be fairly unintelligent, he is wary of Grif whom he considers to be "crafty." It can also be noted in the Columbus Day PSA he showed disgust towards Columbia University, claiming he is a 'Harvard man', meaning he may have had something to do with the school.
Fighting the War
Although none of the soldiers on either side, save Sarge, are enthusiastic about fighting the war, Grif is arguably the least motivated. Owing to his status as a draftee, Grif is reluctant to take part in any action, falls asleep during meetings, forgets his various duties, and actively tries to withdraw from the army by any means possible. Assigned with carrying extra ammunition in combat situations, Grif has, on at least three occasions, neglected to do so; in the first case, this nearly cost them the battle until Sarge managed to pull off a barely-conceived bluff (which the Blues saw right through, but had no motivation to continue to fight), and another one spawned the famous quote "Protect me cone!". In a deleted scene on the Season Four DVD, Grif and Donut have a conversation in which Grif reveals he sometimes clogs the barrel of his gun so he won't have to do any fighting. In Reconstruction Chapter 9, he actually sold the ammo to the Blue Team, and was nearly executed as a result.
As early as Episode 2, Grif's desire to quit the army was evident. On that occasion, he expressed his hope that the war was over and he could return home. Since then, he has often complained about being unable to quit, asked outright to simply quit after observing a very bizarre scene, and on one occasion even attempted to get himself court-martialled. His frustration at being in the army is best showcased when, at the end of Season 3 and the start of Season 4, the Red Team emerged back in Blood Gulch, and Grif stood on the clifftop for several hours screaming in despair (that the others stopped by shooting at him with sniper rifles, Sarge making a comment along the way that led Bungie Studios to add Grifball as a multiplayer gametype). One possible explanation behind his frustrations could be the result of him being chosen in a draft to take Doc's place in the Red Team.
Grif was promoted sometime between Season 5 and Reconstruction; Simmons explains that due to Sarge's refusal to relocate, Grif was promoted to Staff Sergeant. However, Sarge seems incapable of understanding this fact. Though Grif is just as lazy as Sergeant as he was as a Private (nearly getting him and Simmons executed by their own side for selling their ammunition to the Blues), he exhibits a willingness to take charge and lead over Sarge's objections. For once Sarge is actually right about believing Washington. The local "Red" he approached for help was actually the Meta, who saw off Grif by throwing a Warthog at him. Grif was soon "demoted" to "Minor Junior Private Dexter Grif Negative 1st Class" by Agent Washington as part of a compromise, to get the Reds to help. For his involvement in ending the Meta and Freelancer crises he was promoted to Captain along with everyone else but Sarge (promoted to Colonel).
Grif's armor color was a source of confusion for fans for a while, which the directors noted on the commentaries for the Seasons One and Two DVDs. Many fans were under the impression that Grif's armor was in fact yellow and not orange. Even a radio conversation between Church and Tucker in Season One, where Church explicitly called Grif "the orange one", and a scene not long after where Sarge and Church converse and Church again calls him "the orange guy", was not enough to convince the fans otherwise. However, Epsilon Church has referred to him as the "yellow one".
This eventually culminated in a convenient scene in Season Two: Church and Tex entered the mind of Caboose and encountered his incorrect perspectives of most of the other characters, and Grif was yellow. Church pointed out the discrepancies to the mystified Caboose.
This is reinforced again in Episode 78, in which Sheila calls Grif "lemon-head" and Grif replies, "Hey, I'm orange, not yellow!" In the bonus Thanksgiving episode, Church describes Grif's armor as "like somebody threw up and decided to call it a color". Another hint came during a first person POV from Lopez, one of his objectives was listed as "Hate the orange one". Strangely enough, in Recreation Caboose referred to Grif as actually being orange, suggesting that Donut should "kill the orange one" to please Sarge.
Grif's orange armor color is referenced in Achievement Hunter's Let's Play Grand Theft Auto V series: Michael Jones owns an orange Bifta that he refers to as the 'Grifta' as a reference to Grif, whose voice actor, Geoff Ramsey, is one of Achievement Hunter's co-founders.
Even the official Halo games have a multiplayer gametype that makes use of Grif's armor color. Aptly named 'Grifball', when someone picks up the bomb their armor turns orange; as the bomb explodes almost instantly after scoring, it's basically considered as being "either way, Sarge wins". One time 'Grif' has green armor due to a St. Patrick's Day theme to Grifball and another had the armor go yellow (turning the bomb carrier into Kaikaina and not the usual Dexter).
- Reconstruction, Chapter 14
- Rooster Teeth Productions (2005). Character profiles. In Red vs. Blue Season Three [DVD]. Buda, Texas: Rooster Teeth Productions.
- Rooster Teeth Productions (2006). Audio commentary. In Red vs. Blue: Season Four [DVD]. Buda, Texas: Rooster Teeth Productions.
- Rooster Teeth Productions (2003). Audio commentary. In Red vs. Blue: Season One [DVD]. Buda, Texas: Rooster Teeth Productions.
- Rooster Teeth Productions (2004). Audio commentary. In Red vs. Blue Season Two [DVD]. Buda, Texas: Rooster Teeth Productions.