The Grunts are the source of much speculation by their neighbors. Everyone suspects they know the truth but as the family rarely entertains guests, no one is entirely sure. Buzz Grunt has always been a little odd. As a kid he loved to go "camping" with his father and rough it. The feeling of independence gained from knowing that he can survive, even alone, has lasted a lifetime. But the death of his wife and the uncertainty of interspecies galactic politics has heightened his need to protect himself and his boys from whatever may come. Buzz is not the alien hater that his neighbors think he is. He prefers to cast a much wider net. The truth is that Buzz doesn't trust anyone. Green skin. Purple skin. Five eyes. It is the mind underneath these that Buzz mistrusts. Recent classified information has finally confirmed Buzz's suspicions about his neighbor Pollination Technician 9, known to the neighborhood as Mr. Smith. All of Buzz's pent up frustration, fear and sorrow has begun to shift toward Mr. Smith because the thing that Buzz hates the most is being in the dark about anything. Secrets--secrets that he isn't privy to--make Buzz irrationally angry. Though Buzz loves all three of his boys he has devoted his spare time to his oldest, most foolish, son: Tank. He just wants his boy to learn how to be independent, strong and brave but he's not sure how to get through the boy's thick skull. He's confident that Ripp is already independent and no longer needs him. Buck, well, he's not sure what to do with Buck but he's convinced that all Buck really needs to set him straight is a mother.
Tank Grunt was a thorn in his mother's side. She loved him but he was never quite a bright child. He'd follow his father around and parrot him without ever trying to understand why. At first it was easy to overlook, children grow out of these phases but years passed and Tank still acted without question. Lyla Grunt tried to teach her boy logic hoping to help him become more than just a little boy clinging to his father's long shadow. But her premature death cut short Tank's progress toward becoming his own man. He continues to spend most of his free time training in the backyard obstacle course devised by Buzz. On weekends he looks forward to spending time with his father training his mind via the military's newest experimental methods.
As the middle child Ripp feels both neglected and needed. Neglected by his father and needed by his little brother. Mostly he copes by being sarcastic, acting out and finding ways to stay busy. Working as a gas station attendant he's realized what the town thinks of his family. The more he's seen and heard the more he pulls away from the dysfunction. There's a nagging fear in his mind that no one will ever view him as separate from his family. Though his darkest fear is that he will never feel separate from them. He sticks around for his little brother but is counting the days until he can get out on his own to start a real life away from the "barracks". What he'd really like is to roam the continent, sleep on strangers couches and be admired as the life of the party. In the meantime, living in Strangetown isn't so bad as long as he can hang out with "the enemy", Ophelia and Johnny .
Buck Grunt misses having a real parent. He's glad to have Ripp, who always answers his strange questions about life, but seeing how much Buzz and Tank do together makes him feel like he's missing out on something important. His memories of his mother are already hazy and triggered by the strangest things. One of his little pleasures is sneaking junk food right under his father's nose because the Grunt household's food supply is organic, hearty and absolutely bland. Junk food flies directly in the face of his father's obsession with good health. Buck wants to love his father but sometimes he wonders if they're really related. Lately he harbors fantasies that his real father is someone else, like Mr. Smith. Sometimes Buck likes to paint his toenails with his mother's red nail polish, it makes him feel closer to her and also a little special too.