Victor "Vic" Antonio Grassi was a chef and the brother of Debbie Novotny in the Showtime drama series Queer as Folk. When Vic acquired HIV, he was forced to leave his job and live under the care of Debbie while sick with AIDS. After the initial struggle, he was completely dependent on his medications and had trouble finding either a job or a long-term partner. Just as he found his boyfriend Rodney, he died of complications due to his HIV medication.
Vic was Debbie Novotny's brother and Michael Novotny's uncle. For the first three seasons of the show, Vic lived with Debbie in her house. Although he was HIV-positive, he recovered from a lengthy stay in the hospital prior to the beginning of the series and took a trip to Italy with Debbie, not knowing that he would live to see the bills from this trip start showing up.
Debbie helped Vic manage his medications and health, and Vic contributed his disability check to Debbie to cover his portion of the household expenses. Vic also gave Justin his ID card to get into Babylon in one of the first episodes, saying that he had "paid his dues" and doubting he would need it again, although on a few occasions Vic appeared at Babylon after this incident. Vic was arrested for solicitation in the men's room at a mall during the first season, although he was eventually cleared of the charges, since the arresting officer had entrapped him.
Vic worked at the Liberty Diner with Debbie for a short time, after discovering that his disability may be cut off; however, it was difficult for him to adjust to being a short-order cook after his previous training as a chef. In the second season, Debbie berated Vic as pitiful for having trouble making Lindsay and Melanie's wedding cake on short notice, which caused Vic to channel his anger into the task. When Justin questioned Debbie about this, she said that was how she had gotten Vic to live in the first place: "I just kept screaming at him, 'So fucking die already!'" Emmett hired Vic to assist him with his event planning business during the third season.
Also in the third season, Vic met Rodney, and the two men began seeing one another.
During the fourth season, Vic moved out of Debbie's house and lived with Rodney. Debbie, mad at not being invited to a dinner party, got into a huge argument with him. The following morning, Michael came to visit Vic and found him dead from a heart attack (a complication of his HIV medications). His death caused Debbie to feel extreme guilt, and she even went so far as to throw a Christmas party for him in February. However, in the end, she realized that Vic wouldn't want her to live her life this way and, with some help from Detective Horvath, moved on.
Brian, on the other hand, had several visions of Vic after his death, mainly after Brian found out he had testicular cancer. Vic appeared in his dreams, telling him if he lives through this, he'll die "an old queen" like he did, or he could die young and get into a heaven with plenty of good-looking gay men. After intensive radiation treatments, and conquering cancer, Vic stopped showing up to Brian and in the series altogether.
Vic Grassi's Memorial
- "My uncle Vic was the first person I ever told I was gay. He laughed and said, "Thank God, now your grandmother will have someone else's soul to pray for." That's how he was -- never unsentimental, unlike me. Always facing adversity with a smile and a cynical remark. I'm sure if he saw us here today, he'd say, "What the hell are ya wasting your time on a dead man for? Go get laid!" [...] You were a brave man. A good man. Which is all we can ever hope to be."
—Michael Novotny (US: Preponderance of Death)
His beloved older sister.
his beloved nephew.
It is revealed that he was the first person that Michael confided in being gay. Since then, they have always had a special unique relationship. It is likely Vic would tell him stories about life as a gay male when he reached a certain age in order to help Michael feel less alone growing up with a surrounding gay stigma.
Amongst Michael's group of friends, Emmett was probably closest to him.
At one time, Emmett freaked out thinking he was HIV positive and confides in Vic. Another time, Emmett tries to help Vic find the courage to defend himself against an unfair charge by telling him this untrue story that could prove a true perspective in order to get him to fight back. Later in the series, he is the main cook when Emmett becomes an event planner. Emmett is saddened when he passes away and comforts Debbie as he began to live with her in place of him.
There is evidence that Vic was an important person in Brian's childhood. They both were important figures in the LGBT lifestyle for Michael.
After a casual sexual encounter at Babylon following Vic's unexpected death, he discovers he has testicular cancer, Vic pops in his dreams when in surgery and teases and mocks him. From the dreams, it is more evident that Brian was influenced by him as an adolescent and they share a similar sense of humor and outlook, however, Brian's is darker due to coping with his immediate family.
- He is portrayed by Jack Wetherall.
- He is the first known character in the series that is HIV positive. It is unknown exactly how he contracted the disease.
- Liberty House Hospice is later renamed Vic Grassi House after Brian sponsored it in the Liberty Ride during 2004. Represents the warmest household he would've provided to his fellow LGBT community that was HIV Positive. This marks the finale of Season four.