Ragtag Bunch of Misfits

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Believe it or not, the snowman is the normal one.


"Are you a rag-tag band of adventurers with unclear goals and good hearts? ...Yeah, you people are my biggest threat."
Galgarion, RPG World

This mission is important. The fate of the battle, nay, the war, nay, the entire world rests on the outcome. Who has the capability to stick it out, to give the good guys the victory they desperately need? This calls for a special team. The group of experienced, highly skilled, professional, team-oriented experts? Not them. The assorted group of ex-con lowlife inexperienced jerkasses who are trying to off their commander when they aren't trying to kill each other? Yeah, them.

This is usually Justified Trope in one or more of several ways:

Your basic Ragtag Bunch Of Misfits consists of a Hero, a Sidekick, a Big Guy, a Smart Guy, an Old Guy, a Young Guy, and a Funny Guy - But you can call them The Magnificent Seven Samurai.

Of course, the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits will eventually have a Misfit Mobilization Moment to get their act together and win the day. Most often it produces casualties: typically, the guy forced to go on the mission despite being the Convicted Innocent, or the Officer and a Gentleman who's been stodgy and uptight just before making a Heroic Sacrifice.

If the characters were not forced on the team -- Condemned Contestant, Boxed Crook—they often join to be Lonely Together. To contrast their diversity, their enemies will likely be all homogenous in one way, typically by being highly collaborative professionals.

Compare with Character-Magnetic Team, Cosmic Comic Story, and Hitchhiker Heroes.

In the world of sports, this trope counts double. Last year's Super Bowl champions don't stand a chance against a random group of ex-cons, couch potatoes, and farm animals, with Improvised Training, who are almost guaranteed to pull out a last-minute win.

See also Army of Thieves and Whores for when this trope is magnified to the size of an army.

Examples of Ragtag Bunch of Misfits include:


Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Charlestown Cougars, a fake women's high school basketball team assembled for the purpose of Nike commercials.


Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • The team Ichigo gets together during Soul Society in Bleach.
  • The Dollars gang in Durarara!! is surprisingly this, in spite of their sinister reputation.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico has the corporation Nergal throw together an entire crew of Bunny Ears Lawyers in order to get the best of the best in every field. The character Prospector lampshades this trope.
  • And then there's Irresponsible Captain Tylor, whose crew is mostly composed of the kind of people you don't want near pencils for fear of what they might do to each other with them, much less a destroyer-class military space ship.
    • In the Soyokaze's case, the reason it's a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits is because the aging, broken-down destroyer has been assigned as the official dumping ground for all the lunatics, incompetents and misfits of the UPSF. In other words, every trouble-maker or disruptive element that accidentally manages to get into the military is invariably assigned here, so they'll be out of the way. The doctor is an alcoholic who's been drinking since he was three years old, the marines are all violent slobs, The Ace is arrogant and full of himself, as is the navigator, and the captain is, as far as the military higher-ups are concerned, either an absurdly lucky moron or possessed of genuine great insight but limited common sense. The only outright military and competent crewmembers are Lieutenants Yamamoto (who was assigned as the First Officer in the hopes he could somehow cover for Tylor) and Yuriko (who volunteered to join the Soyokaze in the hopes that she could somehow reform the crew).
  • The crew of White Base in the original Mobile Suit Gundam was comprised mostly of civilian refugees and a handful of junior officers who survived the attack on Side 7 in the first episode. They still manage to score a number of improbable victories against the elite forces of the Principality of Zeon, thanks to the Super Prototype principle and some of the cast developing into Newtypes. And more importantly to Federation command, they made really good decoys.
  • Slayers has a team of regulars that involves an overzealous justice freak who often does Sailor Moon style poses and failed acrobatics, an overly short Pettanko motivated primarily by greed/gluttony/revenge, a Big Eater Dumb Blonde Badass Normal, and a Cursed with Awesome golem-demon-human hybrid. The extra characters in the party include an ex-princess who worships a monster she made up, a demon with a penchant for secret-keeping (who is also willing to sell out the entire party), and a shrine maiden with an absurd lack of skill in black magic (to the point where she casts carrot-sized fire spells that tickle people) who somehow learned the strongest black magic spell.
  • Both Justified Trope and Subverted Trope in 20th Century Boys. When Kenji starts up La Résistance, it's made up of guys he knew back in middle school, as they would be the only ones who were remotely familiar with who they're fighting against. After all, it's not very easy to recruit somebody off the street to fight against a cult based on your own twenty-year-old fanfiction. This ends up blowing up in his face for several reasons, the first of which would be that one of those Ragtag Misfits is the cult-leading Big Bad...
  • Eyeshield 21's Deimon Devil Bats. Other teams have full rosters, deep benches and long traditions. The Devil Bats only have 11 full-time team members (eight of whom were only just scraped up for this year, three by blackmail), and they all are weird in their own way.
    • The three helpers are also quirky. The two basketball players lent to the team and the miniature sumo wrestler. Though it feels like I'm forgetting someone...
  • Quite literally in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei where the depressed-to-the-point-of-attempting-melodramatic-suicide-on-a-daily-basis teacher Itoshiki Nozomu's entire class, the very same people who are supposed to take care of the world of tomorrow, are a bunch of social misfits, mental cases, borderline psychopaths and WORSE... In the end, Nozomu himself comes across as a perfectly sane and socially functional man by comparison.
  • Team Dai-Gurren fits pretty well here. Kamina and Simon, two idiots who had never seen combat before were able to put up a fight against a powerful commander of the enemy forces (through use of stolen mechs they had no idea how to pilot), steal their mobile base, summarily defeat every major general they came across, along with the Big Bad. Their unit consisted roughly of around 30 or so (grew exponentially by the end) people who barely managed to survive on the surface, who were all fighting for a cause they believed in. The Rule of Cool was in full effect here, as well.
  • Division 2, the main cast of Patlabor, is made up mostly of police officers who were either Kicked Upstairs by their superiors or deemed too wimpy or too wild for the rest of the force.
  • The Yang Fleet from Legend of Galactic Heroes certainly gave this impression. It was first formed as the 13th Alliance Fleet, composed of new recruits and the remnant survivors of another fleet. Their first mission was occupying an invincible space fortress, which they succeeded at with ease. Ultimately, the Yang Fleet gathers up a colorful array of characters: an elite combat division of expatriate Imperials, a venerable, old Imperial officer in exile, a womanizing fighter jock, a bureaucratic family man, an ingenious orphan, rogue merchants from Phezzan - all of them led by a Bunny Ears Lawyer who would much rather read history books than wage war, but who just happens to be one of the most brilliant tacticians in centuries. Dusty Attenborough and Poplan coin the phrase "foppery and whim" to describe the Yang Fleet's motivations in the face of incredible odds stacked against them.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, the antagonist Seiryuu warriors are mostly battle-hardened, ruthless killing machines, a few of whom could conceivably take over Big Bad duties in their own right. The good guys? An Ordinary High School Student, a peasant farmer, a Wholesome Crossdresser, a permanently smiling monk, a rageaholic bandit, a burned-out country doctor, and a young boy who initially refused the call because he was afraid. Oh, and the Emperor. Subverted in that five out of seven of them get killed, and they actually fail to prevent the god Seiryuu from being summoned. Good only triumphs at the end because of a Heel Face Turn by the Seiryuu priestess.
  • One Piece. Just One Piece. Though they are pirates (more or less), it's pretty much par for the course.
  • Gintama has two: The Yorozuya and the Shinsengumi. Although frequently in opposition, when they are...pointed in the same direction, they can do a lot of damage.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho. Somewhat justified in that three of the four are forcibly recruited—the main character has to work for the Celestial Bureaucracy since they resurrected him, and the other two are working for it to avoid imprisonment. They're more or less thrust together with no choice.
  • The Muto Extermination Squad in Busou Renkin. Put together because the only leader who could keep them in line is a General Ripper, and they are on their important task because everyone else is dealing with a bigger threat. Especially notable because they are the antagonists.
  • The Varia in Katekyo Hitman Reborn. The future arc shows Bel and Levi apparently wanting to kill Fran. This of course is followed by Bel sticking knives in Fran's back.
  • Captain Harlock commands a spaceship full of 'em.
  • D Gray Man has this when you consider the people that the Innocence chooses for their users. The current Exorcists consist of: a former circus brat, a teenage girl, a swordsmen who is actually a test tube baby, a teenage historian with an eye-patch, his 80 year old mentor, a manic depressive woman who has lost 100+ jobs in her life, a bipolar man who spent his whole life in a castle, a blind guy to be fair he lost his eyesight on the job, a man raised by a brothel owner, an ex-con, a sentimental artist, a circus animal trainer, a perverted nine year old delinquent with the arguably most powerful/competent being the womanizing alcoholic who can't seem to go anywhere without piling up debts and carts around a dead woman. Not exactly the sort of Apostles of God you'd take comfort in having the task of saving humanity.
  • Sanzo's team and Kougaiji's team in Saiyuki both fit. "Ragtag team" is even used to describe the Sanzo-ikkou at one point.
  • In High School DxD, the members of the Occult Research Club include: the club leader who's also the younger sister of one of the four lords of hell who apparently loves anything Japanese related, the vice-club leader who's a half-human half-fallen angel turned devil who's also a Miko and a sadist, three very ditzy believers of God (the first being a former nun turned devil who's also the ditziest of the three, the second being a former exorcist turned devil who has No Social Skills, and the third being a reborn angel who has her priorities mixed up), a quiet Catgirl turned devil and the resident Little Miss Snarker, a cross dressing half vampire-half human, the most handsome guy on the school campus and is The Ace of the group, a former Valkyries turned devil who has a lot of Money Fetish, a Mad Scientist leader of the fallen angel faction, a phoenix who can bake cakes, and last, the Chivalrous Pervert Lovable Sex Maniac protagonist who's a human turned dragon-devil. Not exactly the group who can keep the peace between the three factions, but they're the most elite group of the three factions.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Most comic books about Superhero Teams follow that trope; as an example, The Avengers's original incarnation included a Rich playboy Mad Scientist in a Powered Armor, a God of Thunder, a second Mad Scientist able to shrink size and command ants, his shrinking flying wife, and a giant green monster with a Jekyll and Hyde problem. And a One-Man Army super-soldier from World War II later joined them as the Sixth Ranger.
  • British war-oriented comic Battle Action included a British Empire Dirty Dozen clone called The Rat Pack complete with cockney thug/knifeman/marksman, sneaky little pickpocket and gigantic musclebound Turk. For some reason these "Convict Commandos" wore blue battledress rather than Khaki or green.
    • Mercilessly parodied in The Rifle Brigade where fearless Captain "Khyber" D'Arcy leads Ambiguously Gay Lieutenant "Doubtful" Milk, monstrous Yorkshireman Sergeant Crumb ("'ey oop"), Cockney thug Corporal Geezer ("Yer aht of ordah!"), Private Hank the Yank ("Gawd Dammit!") and The Piper (who isn't an actual soldier but is still probably the most brutal of the lot) on missions against.... well you really just have to read these for yourself! But to give you an idea on the type of operations entrusted to the Rifle Brigade, one of their most important assignments involved recovering a powerful arcane artifact before the Axis could get their hands on it. The artifact was Hitler's missing testicle.
    • Captain D'Arcy would eventually lampshade the squad's existence by saying that there's always been a place for a Rifle Brigade in the British forces, and that there was a Rifle Brigade-type collection of misfits before there were rifles, because "when you get down to it there's some things ordinary chaps just can't do!"
    • The Rifle Brigade was also likely a parody of Sergeant Fury's Howling Commandos, the Leatherneck Riders, and the Deadly Dozen. Notable, Doubtful takes the place of Ambiguously Gay Percival Pinkerton, while Hank the Yank is the token foreigner (again, Pinkerton), Crumb the gigantic Bruiser (Dum Dum Dugan), etc.
      • Basically, pick a war comic. Even the stark realism of Sergeant Rock's Easy Company leans this way, featuring the mild-mannered Wildman (whose name comes from his secretly having a Hair-Trigger Temper), one armed bazooka expert Zack, nebbish bespectacled sniper Four-Eyes, clinically anxious Worrywart, etc.
  • The Suicide Squad in The DCU. A covert program of the U.S. government that keeps sending villains (and a few heroes) on suicide missions until they've earned release from prison... or they die. Think The Dirty Dozen with superpowers (some of them, anyway). While literally every incarnation fits, the Injustice League version is the most apt, with General Failure Major Disaster, Dumb Muscle Big Sir, Insufferable Genius Clock King, Deadpan Snarker Cluemaster, and The Chew Toy Multi-Man. The subversion happens when all of them die in the first issue except for Major Disaster.
    • The original Suicide Squad was a WWII unit simply composed of notable or exceptional soldiers. However, apparently the top brass and the recruiting officers didn't collaborate very closely on this one, because the resultant team was composed entirely of antisocial hotheads who hate each other more than they do the enemy, hence the name.
  • Subverted in Kyle Baker's Iraq war satire Special Forces, where an army recruiter desperate to make quota so he doesn't get sent back to Iraq recruits a ragtag bunch of misfits, falsifying records to recruit criminals, drug addicts, those mentally or physically unfit for service, and others who by all rights shouldn't be in the army, but ends up having to serve alongside them when one of them goes off his meds and gets himself killed before boot camp. By the end of the first issue, he and all but two of his recruits have been slaughtered.
  • Also from The DCU, Gail Simone's Secret Six, a team of mercenaries who are spectacularly messed up, and know it. Their enemies are even worse.
    • The Losers in the same universe, several military men who for one reason or another are off official duty and now serve covertly; they're called the Losers because they have nothing left to lose (try understanding the idea behind that), and include Captain Storm, a one-eyed, one-legged salty sea dog if'n thar ever were one, or Johnny Cloud, who was genuinely heroic and uber-competent but insisted on being a Loser because, well, he felt like a loser.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, naturally. Mina's initially insulted that she should be put in charge of such a motley crew but she's just as weird as the others.
  • The original ABC Warriors; Hammerstein is a warhorse famous for his strength and leadership skills but rumored to have murdered a human superior, Joe Pineapples is an ace marksman who once killed a target from orbit but is perhaps the most unsavory being in the universe, Happy Shrapnel is simply dumped onto them because as an older model he's not very user friendly, Mongrol is a monster of metal who is constantly full of only rage and confusion, Mek-Quake is stupid, violent, and crude, Deadlock is an extreme Knight Templar, Blackblood is a Complete Monster known for murder at the slightest provocation, Steelhorn is the original veteran of the Volgan War turned into a horrific mess of molten slag, and so on and so forth. They're the most capable combat unit fighting the Volgs, but goddamn. Just goddamn.
    • Later additions only enhance this image; Mad Ronn the bomb disposal expert (whose skill at his profession is uncertain because he kind of dies the first and only time he actually tries to defuse a bomb), Hitaki the warrior with samurai programming, Morrigun the waitress whose combat skills come from secondary bouncer software, and Ro-Jaws, who is honestly more of a mascot than anything else. Morrigun was the result of a Terrible Interviewees Montage; you should see the guys they turned down.
  • The Defenders, comprised of heroes who don't work well with others, and who often get into fights in the middle of their missions, still manage to be successful because they are comprised of some of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe. They're even famously known as a "non-team", because the concept of teamwork is completely alien to them. This is all in spite of the fact that the founding Defenders (Doctor Strange, the Silver Surfer, the Hulk, and Namor the Sub-Mariner) are among the most powerful Marvel heroes of all.
  • The Champions were a team consisting of Iceman, Angel, Black Widow, Incredible Hercules, Ghost Rider, and Venus. They originally worked together because they all happened to be on the Berkley campus at the same time.
  • The second team of X-Men, especially in comparison to the original team. The first group were five white, American teenagers, recruited by Professor X as students for his school, given matching uniforms, and trained to work as a group before their first mission. The second team[1] each came from a different country, including no members who were both white and American (and one that was blue); varied from their teens to middle age; came from backgrounds ranging from law-enforcement to former supervillain (including one that was both); ranged in education level from college graduate to "raised on the streets"; were all given unique uniforms (or just wore what they showed up in); and barely had time to learn each others names before being sent off to risk their lives.
  • The Great Lakes Avengers is a team comprised of some of the weirdest superheroes in Marvel's catalog, including Flatman, Big Bertha, and most popularly, Squirrel Girl (whose superpower is . . . squirrels). It doesn't hurt that Deadpool is considered one of their reserve members.
  • In both BPRD 1946 and 1947, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense finds itself working with one of these. In the first, it's a squadron of problem soldiers who've been together since D-Day—and have been causing trouble since the end of the war out of frustration for not being allowed to go home. In the second, it's shell-shocked paratrooper Jacob Stegner; Simon Anders, a merchant marine who survived 24 days lost at sea in a lifeboat; Gabriel Ruiz, a Latino jungle warfare specialist who tried to sue the USMC for discrimination; and Frank Russel, a bomb and mine disposal expert who served with distinction in Africa - and chose the BPRD when offered an officer position in an intelligence org of his choice. The first group was assigned to aid Professor Bruttenholm during his time in Berlin - because all the army had to spare was soldiers. The second was a collection of agents available for immediate deployment.
  • The New Avengers are a team more or less thrown together by circumstance (they were on the "losing" side of Civil War). Even now that they can work openly, they remain a group without a great deal in common except that the team is a sort of refuge where they can get themselves back together and get on with their lives.
  • Justified in Les Legendaires, since the titular Protaginist's Five-Man Band wasn't exactly assembled by the government or anything; the two founding members merely decided to create a group of independent heroes of their own by recruiting anyone who would be interested. This result in the group including a former Elite Knight from the King's personal army, a Badass Princess Magical Girl, a formerly enslaved Beast Man, a Barbarian Hero who used to work for the series' Big Bad and an Elf granted with Elemental Powers.


Film[edit | hide]

  • The film Boarding School Wars has Jake Winters invoke this by name in his Shut UP, Hannibal moment during a paint ball battle that decides which school's boys get to go to the dance with the girls. "Yeah, you're right, you're right. We're messed up. We've got problems. And you nailed me in the back of the head. Good one. Guess our ragtag bunch of misfits haven't got a chance against your obvious superiority. But hey - shouldn't you be guarding your flag?" George's eyes widen as he realizes the bulk of the opposing team deliberately lost to separate the team from its flag. Using the walkie talkies he smuggled in, George tries to tell his fellow team members what's happening, but it's too late. They arrive after the battle's been decided in a one on one shootout between their leaders.
  • The Dirty Dozen. The team sent in to blow up the Nazi R&R chateau is made up entirely of men facing either execution or life sentences in military prisons. Except for Magot,[2] though, most of them are implied to be not-such-bad guys who simply were pushed too far, or never should have been allowed in the military at all.
  • In The Devil's Brigade, the Americans are an example, while the Canadians are more serious about it. The real First Special Service Force recruited its American members by asking for volunteers, not forcing the dregs of the Army into it, though plenty of troublemakers got "volunteered" by their commanding officers to get rid of them. The SSF weeded out a lot of the worst, but it was still a pretty motley bunch.
  • Armageddon: "The fate of the planet is in the hands of a bunch of retards I wouldn't trust with a potato gun."
  • The Massachusetts 54th Infantry, a regiment of Black soldiers as seen in Glory. Let's see we have a grave digger, an escaped slave who's as dangerous to himself as anybody else, an erudite Bostonian who's a piss-poor soldier, a stutterer who can't read, and the vast majority don't know either the alphabet, or even right from left. Their excellent performance in battle was a testament to their own heart and the training of their white commanders.
  • The crew of the Stingray in Down Periscope is the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits played for comedy. In this case, they are intended to fail, and it's their complete willingness to ignore regulations, common sense, and sanity are key to their victory.
    • In all fairness, those were their actual orders, in a manner of speaking (i.e. "think like a pirate"). Then a lower-ranking admiral tries to override those orders in order to win at any cost.
    • The crew of the USS Stingray includes a captain with a tattoo on his penis, a jittery Number Two with No Indoor Voice, a female diving officer (actually, the most normal of the group), a washed-out basketball player, a compulsive gambler, a sonar technician with a ridiculously good hearing (he knows what eating an Oreo sounds like), a cook with few cooking skills and acidic flatulence, an admiral's son who wants to get kicked off the boat, an electrician who ignores simple safety instructions, and a crazy old mechanic who pours scotch into the engine to boost its power.
  • Shaolin Soccer provides an interesting twist with a rag-tag soccer team full of washed-up Shaolin monks. Despite their shabby appearance and total lack of soccer experience, they harness martial arts superpowers to defeat the reigning champions.
  • Both The Bad News Bears and The Mighty Ducks play out this formula with kids.
  • Major League is basically The Bad News Bears with a Major League team. Also, unlike the Bears, the Indians win the AL East.
  • Dodgeball a True Underdog Story actually calls the team of average Joes "The Average Joes".
    • They're made up of an apathetic gym owner, a man who thinks he's a pirate, a high school loser who wants to be a cheerleader to impress a girl (think about that one for a second), a man who thinks his mail-order bride loves him, and two of the gym employees who consider the gym better than their previous job at the airport. The only normal person on their team is a female lawyer (who happens to be Bi the Way). They are led by a paraplegic coach who loves throwing heavy objects at his players and making them dodge highway traffic.
  • WALL-E has the titular character, his girlfriend and a bunch of insane broken robots, HANS in particular.
  • In The Last Castle, a convicted army general gathers up an army of inmates at a military jail. One would think his army is a Ragtag Bunch Of Misfits, but since they all used to be soldiers, they're as disciplined and well-coordinated as any official battalion.
  • The Ghostbusters (as well as their Animated Adaptation equivalents The Real Ghostbusters and the Extreme Ghostbusters) are a group of losers and outcasts who wind up saving the same world that shunned them.
  • The replacement Washington Sentinels in The Replacements, featuring a notoriously easy-to-neutralize quarterback, a convict, an ex-soccer player, a sumo wrestler, two gargantuan gun-toting brothers, an Evangelical Christian who waves a bible at all his problems, a deaf man, and a former policeman with serious anger management problems. Even the Sentinels' cheerleaders are a collection of bizarre performers who would never work on any other squad but pull it together for awesomeness.
  • Colette from Ratatouille describes her fellow chefs as such.
  • You'll be hard pressed to find a bunch more rag-tag or misfit than the one being asked to save the Earth in Monsters vs. Aliens: a bug-headed Mad Scientist; an over-the-hill Fish Person; a brainless, sentient glob of Soylent Soy; a fuzzy baby Kaiju; and leading them all, a White-Haired Pretty Girl (albeit a very tall one.)
  • The Diggers who join up with Dr. Noah after one of them is killed by Ecoban soldiers in Sky Blue.
  • Red Dawn has this with a group of teens fighting the evil Soviets.
  • Inglourious Basterds has a lovely Reconstruction of the classic military sort. The Basterds are a bunch of Jewish-American Sociopathic Soldiers (joined by one angry Austrian Jew and one psychotic German traitor) willing to do all kinda of horrible things to the Nazis. Their quirkiness works for them, as legends sprout around them.
  • The kids relegated to being just "Hero Support"(sidekicks) in the titular high school for superheroes, Skyhigh. They end up saving the day when a supervillain attacks the prom.
  • The Cutters in Breaking Away.
  • The cheap Charlies Angels rip-off Angels Revenge. It features a teacher, a Vegas lounge singer, a Sassy Black Woman, an Asian martial artist, a Fiery Redhead, and a pigtail-wearing teenager waging war against a drug cartel. MST3K had fun with this one.
  • The 2009 Star Trek's reimagining of the characters verges on this: Kirk's under disciplinary review and not even supposed to be on board any ship, let alone commanding one; Scotty's been Reassigned to Antarctica; Sulu's a last-minute rookie replacement for the real pilot, who got sick. And after Nero wipes out the entire rest of the fleet, It's All Up To Them.
  • Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou: At one point Steve Zissou proudly declares "We're a pack of strays!"
  • Caveman, the protagonist Atouk along his friend Lar, after being banished from their tribe they found their own when encountering other misfits wondering the wilds, including the old blind man Gog, the comely Tala, a gay caveman couple, the Asiatic caveman Nook (who inexplicably, speaks only in English), and a caveman midget.
  • The American team in Broken Lizard's Beerfest. To give you an idea, one of their members is a homeless male prostitute.
  • The five 'main' pirates from The Pirates in An Adventure With Scientists. Large Ham Pirate Captain, Only Sane Man Pirate With A Scarf, chunky Pirate With Gout, Sweet Polly Oliver Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate and finally Cloudcuckoolander Albino Pirate.
  • The Charlestown Chiefs in Slap Shot.
  • Lampshaded in Mortal Kombat where Sonya all but rolls her eyes at Raiden. "A handful of people on a leaky boat are gonna save the world?"
  • The eponymous group in Kellys Heroes, led by a Military Maverick on a mission to go behind enemy lines and recover some Nazi gold... without telling their superiors.
  • The titular heroes in Mystery Men certainly qualify. The Shoveler's legendary sandwich speech even calls it out:

"There's no use waiting for the cavalry, because as of this moment, the cavalry is us. This is our fight, whether we like it or not. Just we few. We're not your classic superheroes. We're not the favorites. We're the other guys. We're the guys nobody ever bets on."

  • The core protagonists of Star Wars are a ragtag bunch of misfits In Space. Farmboy Luke, princess Leia, retired Jedi Ben, smuggler Han, fuzzball Chewie, prissy C3P0, and spunky R2D2.
  • In Vertical Limit, the crew assembled to go rescue the stranded climbers looks like this from the outside. A half-crazy mountain man, two slacker brothers, a woman mostly in it for the money… Subverted in that they’re all actually experienced climbers who know what they’re doing, and are crazy enough/desperate enough to mount what even they admit is a suicide mission.
  • The '70s cult comedy Steelyard Blues centers around a group of this type.
  • In a rare non battle/sports example, the groomsmen from I Love You Man consist of a the groom's father, brother, a few guys he went on "man dates" with,...and Lou Ferragino


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Skulduggery Pleasant has a well-dressed living skeleton Deadpan Snarker (who is a detective), a teenage girl with odd heritage who owns a mansion, a beautiful blonde woman with a sword who kills things for a living, and a heavily-scarred tailor who is also a boxer. They are later joined by the last teleporter, a vainglorious teenage boy with excessively stupid hair. All of them are mages. None of them are remotely normal.
    • And in the fourth book, Billy Ray Sanguine actually refers to the protagonists as a "Motley Bunch of Misfits" or something along those lines, but of course, the writer is One of Us.
  • The group designed to free Ciri in Witcher was ultimately formed from a aged and mostly retired monster hunter, elder vampire, amazon bowwoman, perverted bard, teenager with villainous background and friend-turned soldier/secret agent/noble from the hostile empire. Also, few times a half dozen or so dwarves were thrown in.
  • Hells Children by Andrew Boland, features the Damned, who are made up of a Humanoid Abomination, an Eldritch Abomination, and a floating torso. And did I mention that there the protagonists?
  • The Discworld novel Monstrous Regiment features one of these. Not only is the titular group of Borogravian soldiers a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, they're all secretly women in disguise.
    • The Monstrous Regiment's survival is a little more believable when you take into account that several of their number have super(natural) powers and their commanding officer (in fact if not name) is a Magnificent Bastard who knows everyone on both sides of the conflict and carries a bit more pull than you'd expect a sergeant to have.
      • It may have helped a bit that the enemy's senior commander (Vimes) was gunning for them.
      • Vimes was not the enemy commander, Ankh-Morpork was not directly part of the fight, and Vimes is very pointedly not military; he is a policeman. But his help was very helpful.
    • And of course, the early City Watch novels. The change occurs after Feet of Clay, when the Watch starts getting so big that Vimes doesn't even know all his officers anymore. (Vimes still thinks of them as being something of a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, of course—no one sane wants to be a copper.)
      • Just as big a bunch of misfits are the night watch in Night Watch.
    • The witches are also somewhat of a bunch of misfits.
  • For a non-Discworld Terry Pratchett example, the titular group in Nation, made up of the remnants of many different Polynesian tribes who have managed to survive a tsunami and attacks by the Raiders, led by a Flat Earth Atheist teenager whose tribe was eliminated before his initiation ritual into adulthood could be completed, meaning that to the others (except Daphne) view him as basically having no soul and being possessed by a demon.
  • Knowingly enacted by a Genre Savvy warrior in Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. An ambient magical force in the land (The Tradition) likes to have events work out like they do in stories. The warrior assembles a group of untrained teenage girls, equips them to look suitably ragged, and leads them into battle. The Tradition then ensures that they fight like expert soldiers, because they are a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits and Underdogs Never Lose.
    • There's a fun moment in that when the warrior is negotiating with dwarf smiths to make the girls' armor. The dwarves are quite insulted at how shabby she wants the armor to look ... until she points out the Traditional path she's going for, known as a Ragged Company. Dwarves know the Tradition, too, so they quickly settle down and even accept that it'll be an interesting challenge to make the armor look like trash while still being high-quality protection.
  • The Wraith Squadron novels in the Star Wars Expanded Universe were based on this principle. Having witnessed some of the problems his squad ran into during the Bacta War, Wedge Antilles proposed a new type of squadron. To address the New Republic's budgetary problems, he said that he would give the squad to them "for free"—taking the washouts, the disciplinary screwups, the mental cases, aliens who just had trouble fitting in with human and near-human societies, and those who were in general on the verge of being discharged, to get them out of other commanders' hair but still give them a second one last chance.
    • After Wraith Squadron's initial success, though, several new members explained that they signed up because of the squadron's success rate, unaware of their initial reputation. That being said, they are either as charmingly wacky or as deeply scarred as the original squad, and, soon fit right in. The Wraiths are eventually considered competent...if unpredictable, unorthodox, and hardly military disciplined. Appropriately, they're recommissioned as an Intelligence unit.
    • Rogue Squadron isn't exactly what you'd call orthodox either, although they're not as wide out as the Wraiths, they sit somewhere between the Wraiths and the regular military.
  • It seems that most of the Malazan Empire's army is made up of a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. Well at least the Bridgeburners and the Bonehunters anyways.
    • It's hinted that the Empire actually encourages that sort of thing, believing that allowing individual squads (and soldiers) to find their own idiosyncratic ways of fighting is more efficient than enforcing conformity in the ranks. Seeing as this is more or less accurate in the Heroic Fantasy world the story takes place in, this might make the Empire an entire nation that is Genre Savvy.
    • And then there's the Mott Irregulars, a bunch of insane country hicks lead by twenty warlock brothers and a sister (the meanest of them all) who are so ragtag and fit so badly that they managed to run circles around the Bridgeburners for more than a year and win at the end.
  • The Phule's Company novels have this as their premise; The "Omega Company" is a dumping ground for troops that no commander wanted to deal with, and Phule is given command as a punishment for strafing a peace treaty signing.
    • Naturally, the Omega Company just need a leader with charisma, patience, flexible ethics, and loads of money, which is what they get in Phule. The rest goes splendidly.
  • Justified in Eve Forward's Villains by Necessity, where only criminals and evildoers can save the world, and there's only a handful left. Naturally, it takes a while for them to get along.
  • The 27th Penal Panzer Regiment of the Sven Hassel novels is made up of ex-convicts and court-martialed soldiers who have been 'pardoned' and sent off to die for Nazi Germany.
  • The Zone series of World War III novels by James Rouch is about the Special Combat Group, made up of soldiers picked up on their various assignments from the US, British, and Dutch forces, and deserters from the Soviet army and East German border police. The established special forces units despise such ad-hoc groups and are exerting political pressure to shut them down.
  • In Dan Abnett's Eisenhorn novels, Inquisitor Eisenhorn's retinue includes in their number: a gunslinging pilot, an aging scholar who's literally addicted to knowledge, an ex-cop, an anti-psychic prostitute, and a flamboyant cyborg starship captain. And that's just the first novel.
    • In his Ravenor novels, Inquisitor Ravenor, though starting with a retinue, adds a Street Urchin, an arbite who was targeted by the Chaos forces for knowing too much, and a doctor who is working illegally because of having lost his license by caring for people not allowed to be treated and falsifying records to get the supplies he needs.
  • Sandy Mitchell's Dark Heresy novels have the Angelae Carolus, comprising among their number an ex-cop, a fanatic assassin, a cyborg who spends a lot of time contemplating the oddness of human speech patterns, a pair of Imperial Guardsmen who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Inquisitor Carolus' pyrokinetic former girlfriend.
  • The Wheel of Time series has quite a few examples, though it's usually a mix of Badass and misfit. Perrin and his band of Two Rivers men, Cha Faile, the rebel Aes Sedai, The Kin, and especially the first band of main characters in the first book.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novel Duty Calls, Inquisitor Vail's retinue already includes a former commissar/member of a penal regiment, and a former arbite who had, while undercover, imploded a criminal organization with a judicious murder and frame, and picks up a food vendor who had stumbled into some knowledge of the Inquisition ... and picked up a gun when cornered by a Chaos cult. Warhammer 40,000 Inquisitors seem to attract this trope. It's lampshaded, too; Cain wonders if eccentricity is a requirement for joining up with Vail, who notes that in a job like that, you just tend to find more people whose view of the universe is... unusual.
    • In Death or Glory, Cain whips together "Cain's Liberators" from the tattered remnants of the PDF armies and civilians on the continent overrun by orks. Including getting all their medical attention from a vet.
    • In For the Emperor, the ragtag band of court-martialed soldiers offered amnesty in exchange for their services function as a well trained military unit. So much so that even two of them who were specifically court-martialed for trying to kill one another were able to work together without incident... at least between each other.
  • Gav Thorpe's Warhammer 40,000 Last Chancers novels fit this trope to a dark and bloody tee, being made up of the scum and villainy of the Imperium.
  • Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos ends with the narrator considering the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits that had literally gone To Hell and Back. He concludes that it's the devil who has no sense of humor; God must love to laugh.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Dendarii Mercenaries were a pretty ragtag bunch when Miles first created them in The Warrior's Apprentice.
  • In Tad Williams' Otherland series, the group of protagonists that ends up infiltrating the Grail Brotherhood's private virtual reality network consists of a South African schoolteacher, a Bushman, a pair of American teenage gamers (one of whom has a terminal disease), a third teenager who's an ex drug addict, a reclusive blind French researcher, a Chinese grandmother, a German doctor and cult refugee, and an old man who's an Accidental Pervert. Their only connection is that they all know someone who's fallen victim to the mysterious comas caused by the Other and stumbled upon the clues left by Mysterious Informant Sellars.
  • In Temeraire book five Victory of Eagles, the title character forges one of these from the collection of renegades, retirees, and rejected experimental crossbreeds Dragons that were in the breeding grounds he was exiled to, after getting word that his captain had been killed and Napoleon had invaded Britain.
  • The five central characters in Douglas Hill's The ColSec Trilogy are a group of juvenile delinquents who have been exiled to an alien planet by the world government. Of course, they end up as recruiters for La Résistance when one of its leaders falls in with them...apparently, because they're "tough, smart, lucky, and survivors." (Bear in mind that this group consists of a Barbarian Hero—in a Space Opera, no less—an empathic Wrench Wench, a Tsundere with super night vision, a Keet, and a Deadpan Snarker...oh, hell, it's actually Better Than It Sounds.)
  • The cast of any story set in the Border Town Shared Universe, ever.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The Night's Watch consists largely of outcasts, petty criminals, and political refugees and (surprisingly) even allows the overweight to join their ranks. This makes it all the more of a combined Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and Crowning Moment of Awesome when the fat Samwell Tarly slays a seemingly invincible monster.
    • The defense of The Wall in A Storm of Swords takes the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits trope Up to Eleven. Since most of the Watch's best men have been killed, and the best of the rest are engaged in fighting elsewhere, only the very bottom of the barrel and some volunteers from a nearby town are left to fight the Wildling horde.
    • The Brave Companions, a band of sellswords made up of the most bloodthirsty and amoral fighters from all over the world, are an evil version of the concept.
    • The Brotherhood Without Banners, made up of the remnants of a royal mission for a now very dead king, as well as a collection of miscellaneous stranded soldiers, armed peasants, petty bandits, and the like. It's telling that both of their leaders have been Westeros' equivalent of zombies
  • There are two in Michelle West's Sun Sword/House War series. The first is the army of the Kalakar, the Ospreys. The second is Jewel's den, which are the much more ragtag bunch of misfits that are significantly more badass. Granted, they have an overlapping character who provides a liberal dose of overkill, but both fit this trope.
  • In the Farsala Trilogy, the entire Farsalan army is this after the defeat of the deghans in the first book, Fall of a Kingdom.
  • The investigating team in The Alienist matches this description.
  • The fellowship in The Lord of the Rings is about half Badass, half misfit.
  • In Dale Brown's Act of War, Task Force TALON starts as a mish-mash of FBI agents, "lab-bound mavericks" and actual combat-hardened personnel.
  • The only defense the human race has against a race of parasitic aliens who take over their hosts' brains and render them completely helpless? Five teenagers and an alien cadet.
    • Everworld has this even more. Especially in the later books when the stakes are higher and Senna gets more antagonistic.
  • The Chosen Men under Sharpe in the Sharpe series of books by Bernard Cornwell. They are not vastly different from most infantrymen (teh recruitment procedure was very loose back then) but their flamboyant personalities and lackluster approach to discipline makes them this very trope. They are scorned by officers but tolerated by pragmatic commanders like Wellington or Hogan who tend to highly value the unit's combat prowess and experience.
  • In Romance of the Snob Squad by Julie Anne Peters, the Snob Squad is one of these. Jenny is overweight, Lydia talks too much, Max is big for her age, and Prairie only has one leg. They end up together in a P.E. class competition. They end up subverting the Underdogs Never Lose trope and losing the competition anyway, and Jenny even comments on this, saying that "if you think we pulled ourselves together and won this thing, you've OD'd on Disney".
  • Implied in the Percy Jackson and The Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus series. Because of their natural battle reflexes, amplified senses and hardwired-for-ancient-languages brains, demigods in the mortal world are usually diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, so they tend to be isolated from other kids, and since, apparently, most teachers are monsters, they tend to fail in school a lot. The main protagonist and narrator of the first series, Percy, has been kicked out of almost every school he's ever attended, to the point where the only time he wasn't, he joked that he'd have to try harder to keep the record, and it's implied that he's never had many mortal friends. Many demigods share similar stories. Yep, these are the kids who hold the fate of our world in their hands.
  • Raymond E. Feist's Shadow of a Dark Queen book of The Serpentwar Saga has a bunch of convicts sentenced to death by hanging, given express (but effective) military training and sent on a suicide mission across the ocean, on the condition, that they may be given pardon, if they succeed and come back alive.
  • In The Dresden Files, any time Harry brings along more than one or two people to help take on the book's bad guy, it's this. The biggest so far involves his assult on the Red Court at the Chichen Itza. Aside from a snarky wizard, his attack force consisted of his teenage neuroamncer apprentice, an agnostic paladin wielding a holy sword, a Chicago PD lieutenant also using a holy sword, a spirit of intellect locked away in a skull, a half-vampire journalist, a White Court vampire, a fairy noble, a vampire hunter, and a temple dog.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • The Kamijou Faction, centred around the main character Touma Kamijou. It includes: a self-proclaimed normal high school student with an Anti-Magic right hand, a living library with knowledge of almost all magic, the third-most powerful esper with power over electricity, nearly ten thousand clones of the third-most powerful esper, an esper-magician hybrid who's playing all sides, at least one Saint, the most powerful esper period, a construct made from the combined energy of all espers who can become an artificial angel, a Badass Normal who defeated the fourth-most powerful esper twice, a different flavor of Badass Normal whose people skills are compared to Mind Control, the leader of a magical cabal, the second-strongest member of a terrorist organisation who once threatened the whole world, a goddess-turned-fairy who used to be the leader of said organisation, the fifth-most powerful esper with power over the mind... and that's far from an exhaustive list. Notable for being even more ragtag than many other examples on this list - the faction never gathers together in its entirety, and most members have no idea that the rest even exist.
    • Much later in the series, the Kamisato Faction appears, centered around Kakeru Kamisato. It includes: another self-proclaimed normal high school student with a different special right hand, a forensic specialist, a coin-using magician, a natural-born esper whose body is like a plant's, a mass-murderer cyborg magician, another natural-born esper who claims to have been abducted by aliens and is actually a magician spying on the group, a girl who was literally Raised by Wolves, a pirate-themed magician who can change her apparent age, a Playful Hacker ghost, a Magical Girl cosplayer, and two fortune-teller sisters. Unlike the Kamijou Faction, it's far more organised and actually acts as one cohesive group.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The A-Team. So very much. As Face once put it, "On our own, we're just a bunch of misfits, but when we're together...now that's something special."
    • The leader of the outfit is addicted to his own adrenaline. The mechanic and Big Guy is in desperate need of anger management classes and has to be knocked out every time they need to travel by airplane. The con-man is, shall we say, very easily distracted by the presence of pretty women. As soon as he breaks the team pilot and in-house medical advisor out of the psychiatric ward, they're on their way. Aren't you glad you just hired The A-Team?
  • One could certainly expect the crew of the Federation Starship Voyager to be this after half the crew gets killed and replaced by necessity with the outlaws they were sent to capture. But the Maquis quickly blend in and in the later seasons, you couldn't tell any difference between them and the starfleet crew.
    • B'ellana Torres and Tom Paris, still manage to appear somewhat out of the norm. Torres has a temper that could power the ships engines, and Tom Paris is an ex-con. Given that he actually runs cons during the shows run, the 'ex' part is exaggerated.
  • Black Sheep Squadron (originally titled Baa Baa Black Sheep) is about the exploits of a squadron of misfit pilots fighting the Japanese in the South Pacific during World War II. One pilot has crashed so many times he's technically a Japanese ace. Others are drunks, insubordinate brawlers, Japanese-American pacifist mystics, or just plain crazy. Their commander is a drunk, insubordinate, over-the-hill ex-Flying Tiger who whips them into shape and turns them into the terrors of the South Pacific. It's based on a true story, and while the misfit tendencies of the squadron members themselves are highly exaggerated, Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, the squadron commander, was if anything MORE of a drunken misfit Magnificent Bastard than the one in the TV series.
  • Torchwood details the exploits of a band of misfits who seem to have nothing in common save the fact they are all inexplicably bisexual. In fact, almost as many episodes (including the apocalyptic season finales) deal with the team members fighting each other as with the supposed premise of protecting Earth (or, at least, Cardiff) from aliens.
  • Blakes Seven makes Torchwood look like a haven of unity and competence.
  • Firefly is essentially the ragtag bunch of misfits IN SPACE!.
  • Farscape is basically this IN SPACE too. Of course, they're pretty awesome anyway, since the misfits are comprised of kick-ass ex-soldiers and convicts.
    • And muppets!
      • Rigel XVI may be a muppet, but don't make the mistake of underestimating him. Being stuck on a prison ship for nearly 100 cycles while being physically and emotionally tortured will harden you. Remember the guy who spent cycles torturing Rigel? Remember his fate? That's right, Rigel gleefully carried his head around on a pike. Hynerians may be physically frail compared to humanoids, but that's only because they're amphibians. And yet they've managed to carve out an empire of "600 billion loyal subjects", including humanoids. And after Rigel deposes his backstabbing cousin in the follow-up comic, he actually becomes a competent and beloved ruler thanks to his experiences. Now imagine someone like Rigel in charge of an empire.
  • Battlestar Galactica. A commander who's brilliant but can't play politics and as such is about to be quietly retired; an alcoholic, caustic, foul-mouthed tyrant of an XO; a stratospherically gifted but undisciplined and half-crazy pilot; the commander's highly competent and idealistic yet resentful son; a genius scientist who can't keep it in his pants; and a schoolteacher are the people exemplified as the best that is left of all of humanity. And their ship is an aging, battered, about-to-be-decommissioned bucket which (due to being ancient and obsolete) is actually the perfect weapon against masters of electronic warfare.
    • The Fleet itself qualifies. It carries the last survivors of humanity and consists of; cargo ships, one or two science vessels, factory/refinery ships where workers toil endlessly in terrible conditions, a freighter which essentially becomes a slavery and black market hub, passenger liners (airplanes in space) and a massive luxury liner (complete with artificial gardens) that travel together with an old battleship that was supposed to be retiring, its brand-new cousin commanded by General Ripper and, much later, a Cylon Baseship. And the best bit is, there are plenty of episodes showing just how much they can't stand each other and only do because it is the next best option.
    • "A ragtag, fugitive fleet...".
  • Hogan's Heroes are a ragtag bunch of multinational soldiers who are probably one of the most powerful Allied sabotage and espionage forces in all of Germany. Even the oblivious and childish Carter is a Genius Ditz when it comes to explosives.
  • Power Rangers dips into this quite often; even when the team as a whole are trained professionals their leader is often a rookie. Still, some teams are more ragtag than others:
  • Babylon 5 makes being a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits (or as J. Michael Straczynski puts it, being "community-builders") our collective Hat.
    • Mostly averted in the Crusade spin-off, where the only "misfits" are Dureena, a professional thief, and Galen, a rogue technomage.
  • Glee gets its entire premise from this. A Cool Teacher takes on the worst Glee club in the state consisting of an obnoxious diva, the school's star quarterback, a Camp Gay who also plays football, a pregnant cheerleader, a Jerk Jock, a Sassy Black Woman, a stuttering Asian Perky Goth, a nerd in a wheelchair, and two more cheerleaders and two more football players.
    • Lampshaded in Journey to Regionals, with Olivia Newton John saying that the whole Ragtag Bunch of Misfits trope is overused and that everyone expects the underdogs to win. Not this time.
  • Supernatural: The entire subculture of hunters. They're all just a bunch of emotionally scarred people who make it their (non-paying) job to hunt and kill supernatural beings, most likely because someone they were close to was killed by one. Considering how rampant these paranormal attacks seem to be, you'd think the government would set up a secret agency to fight them. But no, it's left entirely up to these people, who will break as many laws and wander the earth as much as they have to in order to get the job done, with no thanks or pay to show for it?
    • From The Song Remains The Same, with Heaven and Hell both threatening to destroy the earth and the apocalypse underway:

Dean: This is it.
Sam: This is what?
Dean: Team Free Will. One ex-blood junkie, one dropout with six bucks to his name, and Mr. Comatose over there.

  • SG-1: Fitting the Bunny Ears Lawyer mold. Teal'c is an alien defector, Jack breaks protocol every chance he can, and Daniel's going native on Abydos didn't endear him to the military and his general obsession with non-standard archaeological ideas makes him more than a bit quirky. Even Sam is presented as not seeming to relate to a lot of people outside the band and rather obsessive when it comes to Gate technology and physics. She's in two male-dominated fields, the military and science, and seems to have a psychological need to prove herself because of it ("Me? Tense? I'm not tense!"). Of the later additions, Jonas Quinn was responsible for his predecessor's death, Vala MalDoran is a criminal, and Cam Mitchell gets a lot of flack for being a newbie 'commander' who can't actually give any of his team orders. Probably not quite the sanest group you could send through a Stargate, but they do save the world every other week, so they keep their jobs.
    • Stargate Atlantis isn't much better, John is a fairly by-the-book commander (and actually the only official soldier in the team), Rodney is an abrasive, arrogant scientist with a penchant for last-minute solutions, Teyla is a down-to-earth action-girl who's the closest they have to a guide, and Ronon is a The Stoic, who also happens to be the real muscle.
    • Stargate Universe takes this trope and turns it Up to Eleven. Lemmesee...
      • Insufferable Genius Manipulative Bastard widower Dr. Rush who is more fit to be a supervillain than a hero
      • A commander who isn't really fit to command anyone, has problems making hard decisions and was about to retire
      • Brilliant but Lazy Eli who has a mother infected with HIV, an absent father, a former love interest turning into something alien and hostile and a dead girlfriend.
      • Said former love interest Chloe who is utterly useless and knows it (and is turning into something different). Oh, and her father died in the first episode.
      • Lt. Scott, newbie but became second in command, has a son at home whom he doesn't know and his current girlfriend is the aforementioned Chloe.
      • Greer, who had an abusive war veteran father and has anger management issues.
      • And this was only the main cast...
  • As the title of the show may suggest, this is pretty much the whole premise of 2009 sci-fi drama Misfits, which chronicles the escapades of five slightly disturbed and anti-social young offenders doing community service, who develop superpowers after being caught in a freak electrical storm.
  • Lost's cast includes a spinal surgeon, a fugitive, a con man, a One-Hit Wonder rock star, a former member of the Republican Guard, a cursed millionaire, a Deadpan Snarker psychic who can hear a dead person's last thoughts, a memory-impaired physicist, and an Unstuck in Time Scottish man.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer; much was made of the Scooby Gang's misfit characteristics, both as individuals and as a group. Particularly during the high school years.
      • Or in Season 4 in comparison to the Initiative.
    • Ditto for Team Angel, minus the high school part.
  • The outlaws from Robin Hood included a disinherited nobleman, his manservant, a con-artist/pick-pocket/thief, a carpenter, a woodsman, and a Arabic female doctor. The third season added a monk and a potter, who were admittedly, pretty useless.
  • Eureka is basically an entire town of misfits, albeit not necessarily ragtag.
  • The Major Crimes Unit in The Wire plays this trope straight.
  • Each season of Prison Break has a new band of criminals. Michael lampshaded it in season four:

Let me guess. He had a ragtag band of criminals ready to pick up the slack.

  • The Rottaran in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Soldiers of the Empire . A Klingon Bird of Prey that is down on it's luck, plagued by a series of defeats is led by Martok, Worf, and Dax to a victory.
  • Heroes uses this. At the end of season 1 a group containing a cheerleader, a male nurse, a cop, an internet stripper, a boy genius, a politician, a Japanese Otaku, his sidekick, an escaped con and the professor are all present
  • The Five in Sanctuary were this, including an immortal scientist specializing in strange creatures, a genius keeping himself alive with a machine, an invisible thief, an electrical vampire/InsufferableGenius, and teleporting Jack the Ripper. The Sanctuary team itself could be considered this with the above-mentioned immortal scientist, her daughter (and Jack the Ripper's) with anger-management issues, a quirky forensic psychiatrist disliked by his own colleagues, a Neanderthal, and a werewolf HAP. After the death of Helen's daughter, the team "acquires" a professional thief and smuggler.
  • Primeval. Lester is well aware that he's in charge of a Ragtag Bunch Of Misfits and would gladly fire the lot of them and bring in professionals instead, were he not such a fundamentally decent chap.

James Lester: Repeat that disgraceful slander, and you'll be hearing from my laywers.

  • The Warehouse 13 team could certainly apply: two former Secret Service agents (one of whom gets psychic hunches), a disgraced former NSA analyst who was convicted of treason, an aura-reading B&B operator, a former mental patient and Teen Genius, an Anti-Villain female HG Wells, and a gay ATF agent who's a living lie detector. Not to mention their boss, who is a mysterious teleporting and apparently immortal woman.
  • The central study group characters of Community are a Jerk with a Heart of Gold disbarred lawyer; an ex-anarchist high school dropout; a Meta Guy who sees everything as tropes; a high school jock-turned-goofball nerd; a recovering alcoholic Evangelical Christian housewife; a unpopular girl-turned-hottie who had a mental breakdown; a conniving, somewhat racist old man with Obfuscating Stupidity; and a crazed Chinese ex-professor who lied about knowing his subject. It's hard to find a group this crazy and yet a coherent whole.
  • The Danger 5 team, particularly in the online prequel. In fact, the reason the team exists is because when Tucker, Jackson, and Pierre were sent on a mission to Hitler, their total failure was met with such scorn that two women - the abrasive, alcoholic Russian Isla, and the calm but uptight English Rose Claire - were added to the team. Thus, in the midst of a satire of old-fashioned sexism, the Danger 5 team was born.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Taken to an extreme, as is everything in the Warhammer 40,000 universe with entire penal legions, where the worst of the worst of the Imperium's convicted felons are sent on literal suicide missions in return for a general pardon in the unlikely event they survive. Think Dirty Dozen in battalion size. This trope is best exemplified in the novel Kill Team.
    • Hell, the entire 597th could be considered a ragtag bunch of misfits. Of course, given the 40k universe's casually lethal nature, it's a good thing that they get constant reinforcements from Valhalla...
    • Colonel Schaeffer's Last Chancers. Recruited from penal planets and given the opportunity to redeem themselves by dying for the Emperor.
    • The 40k fanfilm Damnatus follows the same idea, centering around a squad of mercenaries conscripted by the Inquisition to root out a suspected Chaos cult. There's the leader von Remus, sidekick Corris, big guy Wodan and their resident tech-priest Oktavian, all kept under close watch by more straight-laced PDF sergeant Adeodatus and his sidekick Nira.
    • A lot of Inquisitors' retinues tend to end up as this as well since Inquisitors frequently recruit people that they meet during their work with the only criteria being competence and loyalty.
      • It should also be noted that the people they recruit can be of any social status or have any kind of occupation, too. For instance, one member of Amberley Vail's retinue used to be a former fast food seller.
        • Mordechai Horst ends up temporarily recruiting a prostitute desperate to escape from the societal role she was forced into as a guide. And his boss inducted a pair of Guardsmen simply because they were eyewitnesses to a major breach of security, and the pilot whose shuttle they were shot down in just because.
        • The pilot's previous superiors had unreasonably high standards and would've grounded him forever because a huge gunship shot down his unarmed shuttle -- but he's an incredibly skilled pilot whom only imbeciles would ground. He landed the shuttle safely, in a very tight space, despite the damage that meant it couldn't stay in the air. That's why Inquisitor Finurbi recruited him; to not waste that kind of ability.
  • Blood Bowl gives us the Motley Horde, a Blood Bowl team that fits this description to a tee. Not even the coach knows what kind of lineup he will see each game.
  • Every Dungeons & Dragons party ever, with few exceptions. See also the Video Games section and how they talk about the various RPGs; this is where they got the idea. It's possible to coordinate a non-ragtag adventuring party with some pre-game work, but a Ragtag Bunch of Level 1 Misfits spontaneously joining up for mutual adventure and profit is the default assumption.
  • A lot of Solar, Abyssal and Infernal circles in Exalted would qualify. For Solars, if you're a reborn god-king with about half the world gunning for him, you tend to associate with others who can help you punch that half the world in the face. Infernals and Abyssals tend to end up in these through a mix of that desperation and the details of the assignments they receive from their bosses.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • The employees at Maraczek's Parfumerie in She Loves Me could qualify.
  • Comedy musical Starship features a crew including a robot that wants to kill all humans but can't, a battle-scarred emotionally unstable Commander with a mortal fear of robots, his violent and unsympathetic second-in-command, a Non-Action Guy nerd, a hyperactive idiotic recruit, a recruit from Farm Boy Planet, a science officer whose relevant skills don't even extend to the ability to pronounce 'science', and the bratty son of the company boss. At first it seems to just be Played for Laughs in a parody of the sci-fi genre, but it is revealed later that Junior is evil and he needed the crew to be dysfunctional enough that they would notice his evil plan.


Toys[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Because Destiny Says So, the hero of the various Suikoden games must battle The Empire and optimally gather together a force led by 108 very, very diverse individuals. A minority of them are seasoned troops. Most are crossdressing tea fanciers, elevator operators, cape-wearing squirrels... it just gets weirder after that.
  • Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark qualifies, as your possible companions include a gentleman tiefling with a frenzied demon side; a reformed drow assassin; an either vengeful or reformed ghost of a fallen paladin; and a kobold bard turned Red Dragon Disciple. And all of you are Epic-level. Even the kobold.
    • Especially the kobold. The Big Bad tries to persuade your allies to turn on you. Most of them wil stay if you're nice to them at various points, or discovered certain things about them. Deekin will stay no matter what.
  • The full party in A Dance With Rogues definitely qualifies. You have a deposed princess leading a group that (depending on your choices and your persuasiveness) consists of (at various points) a sweet, innocent female bard; a chivalrous ranger; a psychotic mercenary/assassin; a pair of barbarians out to hunt down the guy who killed their entire tribe; an exiled Drow; a heavily-stereotyped alcoholic dwarf; and a gender-flipped dead paladin.
  • The defenders of Kosigan in the Bastard of Kosigan can consist of a bastard half-orc trying to reclaim his heritage, an elf taking revenge for her abuse at the hands of the heir to the county, a prepubescent boy appointed second-in-command of the Grey Guard for no good reason, and an extremely loyal career soldier in charge of the army, all led by whatever you decide the player character is. You even get to lampshade this if you side with Mordred and Alex at the end of the second module, wondering if "two bastards and a little elf" stand a chance against the might of Burgundy.
  • While the team in Neverwinter Nights 2 is a walking bunch of racial stereotypes, the expansion, Mask of the Betrayer, has you spend the game travelling with a wizard who is a product of some other person dividing their soul; a hagspawn Casanova; an exiled half-angel crusader with plans to tear down a major feature of the foundation of the universe; and, depending on the choices you make, either an undead construct of countless souls of thugs and criminals or a giant fuzzy spirit bear god. It's worth mentioning that the hero him/herself is the manifestation/victim of a spirit-destroying curse with the potential to devour gods.
  • The vast majority of Computer Role-Playing Games, for that matter. Who's going to defeat the world destroying monster? Why, a teenage kid, his childhood mad scientist friend, a sheltered princess, a cursed knight, a robot, and a prehistoric cavewoman (and possibly a misanthropic sorceror). They needn't bother recruiting any trained soldiers or acquire any heavy artillery.
  • The crew who ends up saving the world from being Porky's oyster in Mother 3 is a cowardly preteenage boy who can't quite get over his troubled past, his loyal but useless in battle dog, a teen girl raised by freaky cross-dressing fairy things who has been locked away in a castle all her life, and a smelly, ridiculed thief in his 20s with a crippled leg. Yet somehow, we're not doomed.
  • In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, your party consists of a mute everyman plumber with superhuman jumping ability, the monster king who is typically his worst enemy, the princess he has to save just about every other week, a talking cloud that can control the weather, and a possessed doll.
  • Fire Emblem Tellius: Radiant Dawn's Dawn Brigade, justified as they are a group of resistance fighters, rather then a formal military group, but that justification goes straight out the window when they become the core of a full blown rebel army.
  • Like Fire Emblem, the recruitable casts found in all Shining Force games (and many sidegames) have a large degree of variation in occupation, nationality, class, motive, and even race. It is not uncommon to wound up with an army full of Humans, Halflings, Centaurs, Elves, the token Joke Character, beastmen, and many other fictional races towards the end of the game. Hell, some games even have Ninjas and Samurais joining the force seemingly at random.
  • Rogue Galaxy could also qualify. By the middle of the game the super-elite pirate ship's crew consists in: a legendary Pirate, a Second-in-command cat with a bad attitude, a bad-tempered jungle girl, a clueless young boy mistaken for a skillful hunter, an actual skillful hunter, a cheerful girl, an extremely polite fighting-machine robot with the spirit of a dead child inside, a depressed Ex-soldier, a police-wanted, fired-from-his-job computer genius, and a... something that can fire missiles from his back and speaks with a weird accent, plus a couple of normal human pirates adn a talking frog who eats weapons. Insanity ensues.
  • Delta Squad in Gears of War fit the trope perfectly - though everyone on the team is a soldier, they argue amongst each other constantly, are generally a collection of jerkasses, and the (newly promoted) squad leader is an actual ex-convict freed literally hours minutes before the mission began.
    • It is stated by several of the characters however, that Marcus's trial was a sham and that before it he was an extremely skilled soldier.
  • Planescape: Torment. An amnesiac immortal trying to find out who he is and to die while he still can; a flying talking skull with the libido and vocabulary of a frisky teenager; the last warrior of an ancient order who wield blades attuned to their minds, capable of destroying anything; a fiendblooded thief and corpse-collector; a chaste succubus; a perpetually burning man who loves it; a being embodying geometric order cut off from the Hive Mind of its brethren, accompanied by a pair of semi-sentient spirits who have shaped themselves into its crossbows; and a haunted suit of armor kept together by its refusal to abandon its duty to Justice.
    • Justified in that the Mark of Torment etched into the Nameless One's flesh draws troubled souls to him. Furthermore, sometimes past incarnations of the Nameless One helped make them that way.
      • Considering most of the game (sort of) takes place in Sigil, it would have been weird if the group was NOT a bunch of randomly selected and mismatched people and other creatures.
  • This is pretty much the entire point of Battlefield: Bad Company. B Company is apparently a dumping ground for anyone the Army deems a troublemaker, making them expendable. Plus, the squad featured pretty much qualifies in and of itself: a demolitions man who blew up the wrong latrine and loves to go in depth on his philosophical non-sequiturs, a cowardly comm specialist who looked up porn and wound up giving the Department of Defense network a nasty virus, a chopper pilot whose boredom and subsequent recreational drug use led to an accident that then led to his reassignment, and a weary sergeant who just wants to get out as soon as possible and is willing to take a transfer to the highest mortality rate company in the Army to get it.
  • Depending on whom you recruit in your pack, Spore has elements of this trope. It's possible to end up with someone with his cilia from the Tidepool, and yet he can last longer than the others.
  • In Mass Effect, the fate of the entire galaxy rests in the hands of a war hero/ruthless commander/ShellShockedVeteran, who is backed up by a telekinetic tech with control issues, an angry Marine with trust issues, an angry cop with authority issues, a Proud Warrior Race Guy mercenary with parental species issues, an alien mechanic with more parental issues, and a blue-skinned Hot Scientist with even more parental issues. Big, happy family, right?
    • Mass Effect 2 brings this trope to even Darker and Edgier territory. Shepard's suicide mission team appears to consist of nothing but thugs, sociopaths, and ne'er-do-wells.
    • And Shepard is not immune: depending on which past you choose, s/he either grew up without a family and was raised by gangs and violence (Earthborn) or is the sole survivor of a pirate raid on his/her home planet (Colonist) and either watched his/her whole platoon except for him/her being annihilated by an alien monster (Sole Survivor) or send the 3/4 of hi/hers platoon to death to capture a bunker (Ruthless).
    • Both games take some effort to justify such choices in crew. In Mass Effect 1, Shepard is a Spectre, a self-sufficient field agent flying a ship that is technically on loan from the Alliance. The situation with Saren isn't seen as that much of a threat, and Shepard simply picks anyone who offers to tag along; these six are the best Shepard could gather on such a short notice. In Mass Effect 2, the authorities outright ignore the problem and don't provide any help, and Shepard is forced to seek out criminals and social outcasts who are nevertheless stated to be the best at their fields.
    • Basically, this trope is what you'll see just from browsing through the War Assets list of Mass Effect 3. Even by the franchise's standard, there are groups that you'd never imagine to fight on the same side before Mass Effect 3 hit shelf.
  • Disgaea certainly qualifies, even if the 'heroes' aren't very heroic. You have the orphaned son of the demon king, his sidekick of debatable loyalty, an assassin angel (don't ask), Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth and his two sidekicks, the gorgeous scientist and the funky robot, various defeated enemies, and don't forget the souls sewn into demonic penguin bodies in the Prinny Squad.
  • BioWare seems to love these. Jade Empire features, as the last hope for a fantasty world based on East Asian mythology, a martial artist who is secretly the last of a group of monks who served the goddess of rebirth; his/her childhood friend who is troubled by vague prophetic visions; a former assassin; a hobo seeking revenge for his dead daughter; a loud, outgoing, Sociopathic Hero mercenary; a Mad Scientist with a fondness for explosives and flying machines who happens to be an amnesiac god; a little girl possessed by a benevolent demon and his Evil Twin; a henpecked Drunken Master; and a Rebellious Princess who dresses like a cross between a ninja and a belly dancer.
  • How about Knights of the Old Republic? In the first game you have an ex-pilot with major trust issues, a Jedi trying too hard to be perfect and scared to death of failing, a Mandalorian Blood Knight, an exiled Wookee, a smartmouthed teenaged Twi'lek, a redeemed Jedi with an immense temper, a Jedi verging on senility, a mechanic droid with no personality (so far), and a psychotic insane assassin droid; and leading them all is an amnesiac Sith Lord. In the second, the Blood Knight and the two droids carry over, and you get to add a psychotic old woman out to destroy the Force, a maniacally depressed former Sith, a former wisecracking Jedi-killer, another psychotic droid (but this one is out to rule the galaxy), a Zabarak mechanic trying to make up for all the deaths caused by the superweapon he designed, depending on your choices either an insane evil Wookee bounty hunter or an overconfident and very honorable female human bounty hunter, and depending on your gender either a Badass Bookworm or a soldier whose culture interprets dueling as flirting; and all of these are led by a hole in the Force that feeds off their life force.
  • Valkyria Chronicles:
    • The Gallian Militia from Valkyria Chronicles are like this, Squad 7 even more so. Notable in that they're not as ragtag-y as most other examples.
    • And then we have the 'Edy Attachment' in the DLC which is the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits OF a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.
    • Valkyria Chronicles IIgives you a group of misfits more ragtag than the militia: Class G of the Lanseal Academy, filled with the laziest, worst-performing rejects the crop has to offer, and Darcsens.
    • And then Valkyria Chronicles III outdoes them both with the Nameless, a literal Army of Thieves and Whores thrown together and forced to fight as cannon fodder as punishment for past crimes.
  • Hiro and the gang from Lunar: Eternal Blue qualify as they, strangely except for the main character Hiro, have some problems hidden from others. In fact, Big Bad Zophar explicitly refers to them as "the ragtag party of misfits."
  • Boots and his buddies from Anachronox certainly qualify: a stripper, a toy robot, TWO scientists, an alcoholic ex-superhero, and an entire planet, which you at several points were exploring.
  • The Wasteland crew in Tony Hawk's American Wasteland. Unofficial leader Iggy van Zandt is explicitly called "the king of the misfits" for a reason. And with friends like the player character (a clueless farmboy who just got off the bus), Boone (a violent screw-up who couldn't even cut it as a gang member), Murphy (every slimy agent ever minus the money), Useless Dave (whose endless knowledge of pointless minutae never fails to bore)... yeah, that's ragtag.
    • Don't forget the most "normal" of the crew: a punk-rock chick with a penchant for exceptional art.
  • Lampshaded by Agatio in Golden Sun: The Lost Age: "Well, this is an unlikely bunch of ragamuffins."
  • Every team in City of Heroes (and many other MMORPGs, really) except particularly coordinated ones, given the Fantasy Kitchen Sink nature of the superhero genre, and also the casual-friendly nature of the game where it's not uncommon for the fate of the world to be in the hands of a team that may include one or more of the following: A 13-year-old, a 60-year-old, a drunk, a Furry Fandom, a hopeless powerlevelled newbie, and maybe a Munchkin if you're lucky.
  • While Raze's group in Mana-Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy is more-or-less a well-oiled group, Ulrika's group fits this precisely, consisting of a fairy(?) larger than Ulrika and far more timid, a guy in an animal suit/ball which said suit carries who can switch at will, a young boy with a machine obsession (and an abusive sister, but that's on Raze's side), a girl who believes curses are "incantations", and finally, Ulrika herself. In-battle, Ulrika's side is a bit more powerful than Raze's, due to tactical considerations and better overall abilities.
  • In Mercenaries 2, a five-person team composed of a revenge-driven merc, a snarky computer geek, a lecherous helicopter pilot, a perpetually drunken jet pilot, and a snarky mechanic, destroys the Venezuelan government, and defeats a superpower-backed army as nothing more than a means to that end.
  • Skies of Arcadia fits this trope to a tee. You've got a Lovable Rogue, a Fiery Redhead, and a mysterious Woman in White as your main party members. You pick up lots more along the way to join your crew. Not to mention all the 3rd party characters that come when Gondor Calls for Aid near the end.
  • Team Fortress 2: A drawling More Dakka engineer. A big, somewhat dimwitted Russian. A psychotic delusional soldier. A mouthy, trash-talking speedster. A German Mad Doctor. A smooth-talking French spy. A laid back Australian professional killer. A drunk, one-eyed, black, manic-depressive Scottish nutcase. A pyromaniac of ambiguous sex and/or gender. They Fight Their Other-Coloured Clones!
  • Dragon Age, of course. It's a BioWare RPG, so you've got: Two Grey Wardens (They're pretty much a whole order of Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. One is a prince and a former Templar apprentice. The other is you, of course), a deadpan-snarking shape-shifting witch from the forest, a redheaded french bard who was a priest, but joined you after a vision, a stoic Qunari warrior, a (female) golem with an intense hatred of pigeons, an alcoholic dwarven berzerker, an elven assassin, an elderly Dead All Along mage, a villainous noble champion. Oh and their pet dog.
    • To elaborate, said prince was actually a bastard shipped off to a convent to keep him away from the throne, the witch had a rough and isolated childhood and so has No Social Skills, bard in this context means spy and assassin who sings, the you free the qunari from prison after he murdered eight innocent people, the dwarf joins you after you help him find his Complete Monster wife who abandoned him searching for an Artifact of Doom, and the elven assassin was hired to kill you.
    • Dragon Age: Awakening continues this. The alcoholic dwarven berzerker returns, and the new members are an snarky rogue mage with an obsessive Templar out for his blood, a murderous elven hippie, a rogue whose father is the noble who killed the Human Noble's family in the first game, a member of the Dwarven Legion of the Dead, a Fade spirit of justice trapped in the body of a dead man, and a very nice Grey Warden recruit who dies the second she takes her Joining.
    • Dragon Age II continues the tradition with your younger sibling who is either a warrior jealous of you or a rogue mage who wants a normal life, the widowed daughter of an exiled chevalier, a dwarven merchant from an exiled noble family with a fondness for storytelling and a crossbow named Bianca, a Cloudcuckoolander elf exiled from her clan for practicing Blood Magic, the snarky rogue mage from Awakening who is now much less snarky and possessed the spirit of Justice who has become a demon of Vengeance, a promiscuous pirate captain with a very large number of enemies, an escaped elven slave with Identity Amnesia and Power Tattoos, a prince/priest whose entire family has been murdered, and your pet dog.
    • A DLC gives you a temporary companion who isn't much better than the others - a female Qunari elf with a penchant to either kill or flirt with any man (especially human) that she sees.
  • The survivors from either Left 4 Dead game count. In the first, a Vietnam vet, a Badass Biker who hates everything, an office worker who had no clue what's going on, and a Gamer Chick who's flunking out of college. In the second, an overweight, middle-aged Team Dad, a ditzy Butt Monkey with an accent thicker than pea soup, a snarky conman in a white suit, and an Intrepid Reporter and token chick.
  • Your group in Drakengard is led by an Ax Crazy "hero", a useless bard friend deeply in the friend zone with the hero's sister, a conflicted pedophile, a batshit crazy child eating elf, and an old man making ominous prophecies. Not to mention most have pact partners, which include a snarky dragon and a hilariously sociopathic fairy.
    • ...but it has been noted that since this party contains a child killer, a child eater and a child molester, they are the perfect team for taking on the Watchers.
  • Infinite Space starts out rather normally: a boy who seeks to unravel the mystery of the Epitaphs, his little sister, a "launcher", and an ex-thug. As the game progresses, you can hire mercenaries and have some normal citizens on board, which don't seem too bad, but later on, you can also have military officers (who join you for various reasons), ex-pirates, and even princesses.
  • The Fallout 3 DLC Mothership Zeta plays this trope straight. You have to take over the alien mothership with the help of the somewhat unprincipled mechanic Somah, the pre-War combat medic Lt. Elliot Tercorien, the cowboy Paulson whose family was killed by the aliens and the little girl Sally whose repeated escape attempts net her solitary confinement and fairly good knowledge of the ship's systems. Oh, and Toshiro Kago, a Japanese samurai (in full armor complete with a katana) who can't understand a thing the others say (and vice versa).
    • Perhaps even more so in Fallout: New Vegas, where your followers include a Cold Sniper, a scientist with a mysterious past, an Eyebot and a Super Mutant formerly in the employ of The Master from Fallout 1, among others.
    • The quest "Flags of our Foul-Ups" consists of the player trying to make such a squad (called The Misfits!) actually combat effective. They consist of a small team of NCR troops with a severe attitude and discipline problems; an ambitious young woman who washed out of the Rangers but is still desperate for glory, a bloodthirsty former raider who'll recommend the squad dose up with the in-universe equivalent of PCP, a lazy and immoral snob, and a huge but soft-spoken and pacifistic hick. They can be properly mobilised with the right choices and skills, demonstrated during the final attack by the Legion on the Dam, when your Misfits defeat a Legion assault.
    • The First Recon Sniper Team also qualifies. Professional leader, Shell-Shocked Veteran, Naive Newcomer, Butch Lesbian and a traumatized tribal. They are also the best snipers and scouts in the whole NCR army.
    • Fallout 2 demonstrates the ensemble dynamic more clearly by letting the player travel with many of them at once (instead of leaving them on display in a hotel, never to interact with each other). These include a one-eyed old man with a metal plate in his head, the son of a slaughterhouse operator who is your potential husband (regardless of your gender), his sister who is your potential wife (again, regardless of your gender), four dogs (two of which are cyborgs), a super-intelligent deathclaw, a ghoul former doctor, a super mutant, an obnoxious racist sexist teen drug genius, a military AI called SkyNet traveling in a robot body of the "Danger, Will Robinson" variety, a tribal warrior with a Jamaican accent and multiple body piercings who talks to the bone in his nose, and a trader of dubiously valuable goods with a missing daughter and a habit of calling you "Boss".
  • And what about the Raynor's Raiders? An ex-marshall turned into a freedom fighter, an idealist, an ex-lifetime convict, (Who's actually a mole) a mechanic with a modified arm, a nerd, a colony doctor (Who doesn't hang around at some point) and a psychotic assassin with mystic tendencies. Phew...
    • Raynor actually refers to them as a ragtag bunch of misfits at one point.
  • Subverted in Pathologic. The first scene in the game shows the three healers meeting up, arguing with each other, then deciding to strike out separately to fight the plague. Throughout the game, they never really team up, and occasionally work against each other.
  • No love for the Breath of Fire games? In the first we have The Hero destined to Save the World, a Badass Princess with wings, a half-wolf hunter, the world's best thief who can somehow fuse with other people, a greedy fish-man, a literally bull-headed strong man, the world's most powerful sorceress and a mole-man. The other games have similar line-ups. Did I mention that in the first two games, they are all Petting Zoo People of different species?
  • Somewhat subverted in Baldurs Gate and its sequel; Yes, you can include deranged rangers, badass paladins, angsty or depressed elves, psychotic dwarves, insane necromancers and even a former Big Bad in your party. But they do all have their own goals and agendas, and if you violate their beliefs or make them work with people they detest, they will eventually leave your party or worse.
  • Airforce Delta Strike: Delta Squadron is where all the EDAF losers are assigned.
  • Pretty much describes everyone part of S.E.E.S. in Persona 3 or the Investigation Team in Persona 4, but it's what allows them to summon Personas.
  • Most parties in Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura seem to end up like this. In addition to the hero, a poor schmuck who just happened to survive a blimp crash, you can have a monk who doesn't know the first thing about his religion, an overly proud dwarf with no idea what dwarves are really like, a half-drunk half-ogre, the world's smartest "orc", an elven princess, a necromantic fop, and even the guy you set out to kill in the first place. Oh, and a dog who kicks more ass than the rest of the party combined.
  • Eien no Filena. The party that saves the world consists of a transvestite, a prostitute, a dog, and a writer.
  • The main cast of Resident Evil Outbreak consists of eight people at the same diner when the outbreak happened, not highly trained police officers as in the others.
  • By the end of Freelancer, the Order includes a rogue captain guilty of Grant Theft Cruiser, a former security officer wanted for murder, an odd-jobs pilot wanted for murder and artifact smuggling (you), two archaeologists, and two noblemen disillusioned with their respective governments. Additionally, your alliances include a by-the-book destroyer captain, your character's father figure (an eccentric mechanic), and a gang leader.
  • Freedom Force, being a typical superhero team, consist of unlikely people brought together by extraordinary circumstances... and Energy X. These include an alien fugitive with Psychic Powers, a nuclear physicist obsessed with patriotic ideas, a hot-headed Latino from the barrio, a playboy atoner forever trapped in a metal suit, a Southern Belle/witch, a "Shcottish" fisherman with scales, two teens, a reprogrammed evil robot from an alternate future, a high-school nerd with an insect obsession, a former Air Force pilot now a Speedster, a rookie cop and a blind witness joined into a single being, a strange plant lady with a bikini made of leaves, a washed-up British boxer, an ex-thief, and one who is either an alien or an experiment.
    • The sequel adds a half-dead widower, a guy who really loves his Shakespeare, the daughter of a powerful sheikh, an Aztec god in a teenage body, a British inventor with a penchant for poisonous cards, a French fencing champion, and an actor with a jetpack.
  • Monster Girl Quest Paradox: Just at the end of the first chapter, the party is likely to consist of: a Nephilim hero, either the Monster Lord or the goddess who created humans and angels, a club-wielding priestess, a boomerang-loving slime, a mysterious tentacled being that looks like a young scylla, an angel Mad Scientist, the leader of the human faith, a gynoid, the spirit of wind, a former princess, an alchemist with worms for arms, the spirit of earth, and a second gynoid... and that's just some of the major characters!


Web Comics[edit | hide]

Mindflayer: Adventurers? I thought we were a bunch of outcasts banded together in hopes of increasing our odds of surviving to the next day.
Lomylith: That would be the definition of the word "adventurers", flayer.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The five protagonists from the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes, despite their increase in power and skill over the course of the series, have yet to fully separate themselves from this trope.
  • The main characters of Red vs. Blue. While they are all fully armed soldiers, they are also the least qualified people to be handling the various omnicidal maniacs that cross their path.
    • With the exception of Tex, who is pretty much confirmed to be the single best fighter in the series.
      • Not that she's without her own very special issues, however, as season 8 reveals. She's essentially cursed to ultimately fail at everything she tries to do. The most normal person they meet (Wash) still has issues, what with Epsilon's memories being beamed directly into his mind and all.
  • Say, does Homestar Runner count?
  • Team Kimba of the Whateley Universe. A former rich kid who is now the Fallen Princess. An Army brat chased out of his own home by anti-mutant fireteams. A nerd turned into a Person of Mass Destruction. A loner who turned into The Chosen One. A motherless victim of child abuse who has spent time as a foster child. A transgendered black kid from Baltimore. A loner turned into one of The Fair Folk. And they're not the weirdest kids at Whateley Academy.
  • The characters in A Game of Gods come off as this. Justified in that they were taking from their home worlds by the Nomads.
  • The Fellowship of The Questport Chronicles starts out as this: one amnesiac Winged Humanoid, two elves (one of whom is an assassin), a Vegetarian Vampire, a fairy, a human trapped in a dragon's body, a Voluntary Shapeshifting demon, and an easily-confused pixie.
  • The heroes of The Nerdy Show's pen and paper adventure podcast, Dungeons & Doritos, hurt each other and their allies or employers about as much as they hurt their enemies. However, over the course of the adventure, they learn to care for their teammates and become increasingly competent at working together. Except when they aren't, and then Hilarity Ensues.
  • Reflets d'Acide starts with Wrandrall, a Half-Demon warrior, trying to assemble comrades for a quest. He ends up with a group including a Dwarf, an Elven Barb, a Fire Elemental and a female Barbarian Hero (the latter being soon replaced by a Dirty Old Monk).
  • The members of "Team Templar" from Shadow of the Templar are the first type of this, all the way. Extremely talented but mostly crazy, their general rule of thumb seems to be that "standard procedure" is a good Plan B. All the same, they have a reputation for getting things done.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Played with in Transformers: Beast Wars. The oft-bickering good-guy Maximals are somewhat of a ragtag group, the crew of an exploration vessel forced into battle and joined by a Defector From Decadence, but the Predacon antagonists fit the trope even better, backstabbing, scheming, and jockeying for position constantly.
    • Similarly invoked in Transformers Animated, in which the job of saving the day lands on a repair crew with barely any real weapons who've mostly never been in combat before, while the Decepticons also spend a large time disorganized and spread apart. Of course, when the team of experts does show up, they're not a lot of help...
  • Parodied with the elementary school dodgeball team in the South Park episode "Cojoined Fetus Lady", who make it all the way to the finals much to their own shock and dismay.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the responsibility of defeating the Fire Nation and saving the world rests entirely with a 12-year-old goofball of a Messiah and the various other children he picks up along the way. Three attempts were made by various characters to have actual armed forces involved, but the first two times were stopped before they started (the second when a fourteen year old princess and her two handmaidens, a dour Knife Nut and a Cloudcuckoolander acrobat, managed to pull off a coup in a hostile city) and the third time resulted in a crushing, ruinous defeat
  • The Pirates of Dark Water even says so in the opening credits, "At his side an unlikely, but loyal crew of misfits."
  • Referenced and Parodied in Futurama, when Fry attempts to destroy a giant brain with a Quantum Interface Bomb. He's found by a squad of smaller brains, that try to destroy him. When their brain rays fail, one of the brains say, "But we're an ambitious young squad, with everything to prove!"
    • The Planet Express crew in general; the main delivery crew is a goofball from the 20th century (Now known as 'The Stupid Ages'), a selfish robot who spends his time drinking booze and making wisecracks, and a social outcast cyclops who tries to be professional, maybe a little too much. The rest of the company is a century-and-a-half-old mad scientist, a Jamaican paper-pusher who likes to limbo and fill out forms, a ditzy chinese girl from Mars, and a lobster alien who lacks neither social graces or an accurate idea of what the human body is, despite being the company doctor.
  • The Robot Chicken sketch parodying Armageddon, where the leader was chosen by call-in votes. The winner was Harrison Ford, who protests "I'm just an actor! I'm 62 years old!" but everyone expects him to act like a movie hero. Aerosmith fill the remaining slots on the team because the mission needs a cool theme song. They die trying to land.

Reporter: Don't we have highly trained astronauts?
Senator: Oh, that's something of a myth.

  • G.I. Joe Renegades invokes this hard in the first episodes, with the team only tolerating each-other for the mission, and getting much worse for a bit until the end of the second episode when they're able to come together to stop a threat. They're still at odds for the next few episodes, but gradually seem to come together as everyone gets to know each-other.
  • The ThunderCats, both the original series and the 2011 reboot, were survivors of a great catastrophe (in the original series, it was the destruction of their home planet Thundera while in the reboot, it was the destruction of the kingdom Thundera). The original group consists of a young inexperienced prince with a great destiny, an old soldier, an Action Girl, a scientist (original series)/arrogant prince (reboot), two Tagalong Kids, and the Team Pet.
  • Ben 10 Alien Force episode "War of the Worlds" Part 2 had the group get all the help they could for the Season finale. When their best efforts fail, you get the following:

Gwen Tennyson: We're too late!
Ben Tennyson: It's never too late. New plan!... Working on it.
Kevin Levin: That's reassuring.
Ben Tennyson: Got it! We break into the Highbreed Control Room and force the captain to make his ships retreat.
Darkstar: That's your big plan?
Ben Tennyson: Hey, how many times have I beaten you?
Darkstar: Twice. But just at this moment, I don't see how.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The "Mille", the thousand-something volunteers that followed Giuseppe Garibaldi on his expedition to conquer Sicily and unify Italy in 1860. The youngest was 10 years old. The oldest, 70-something. There were students, poets, shopkeepers, tailors, pharmacists, bakers, former soldiers and officers of the regular army, medics, pretty much anything, including a woman, each with his own motive: fame, fortune, romance, adventure, ideals, death (reportedly one of the volunteers jumped offboard the ship twice during the trip to the shores of Sicily). They wore civilian clothing that only had in common the color red (the closest thing they had to an uniform) and were armed with old rifles obtained by tricking an army quartermaster into giving them. Besides, the rifles themselves never saw much use, since Garibaldi's tactical philosophy was "the rifle is nothing more than the grip of the bayonet". And apparently it worked, as the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits eventually conquered the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
    • This always was Garibaldi's Modus Operandi: find a big country, assemble a ragtag bunch of misfits, and go kick asses. Sometimes, Garibaldi's troops were fighting long after the rest of the country they were fighting for had been crushed: during the Uruguayan civil war, the regular Uruguayan forces were crushed at the battle of Arroyo Grande: Garibaldi's ragtag bunch of former slaves and immigrants held the city for nine years and eventually won the war.
  • The ships that ended up discovering the Americas originally had an overwhelming majority of criminals and other lowlifes as their crews, as they weren't even expected to make it through alive, let alone come back. (Predictably, malnutrition and illnesses did end up mowing a lot of them down on the way.) This also partly explains the horrible treatment the natives suffered.
  • Hollywood History example: According to widespread belief (and would Hollywood lie to you?), the Americans were the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who drove the British from their shores during the American Revolution. In history, of course, the Americans did form proper military units, with ranks and rules and discipline and everything. They did do so with a lot of foreign (especially French and Prussian) help, but...
    • General 'Von' Steuben took advantage of the long winter at Valley Forge to whip the Continental Army into some kind of shape. A lot of our Founding Fathers were emotionally and ideologically committed to the 'citizen soldier' ideal. George Washington, who for his sins, had commanded militia men in the French and Indian War knew that this was unworkable. Not because citizen soldiers are cowards but because it takes training and discipline to make men do something as counter-intuitive as stand still and let the enemy empty their muskets into them.
    • Modern researchers on the battles of Lexington and Concord have concluded that the Massachusetts Militia actually contained a higher percentage of combat veterans from the French and Indian war than the so-called professional soldiers they opposed. Which probably shouldn't surprise anyone, considering that they managed to pull off a seven mile moving envelopment. One British Officer writing home after the battle concluded "These people know very much what they are about."
    • There were also instances of decent-sized forces appearing more-or-less out of nowhere, the important Battles of Bennington and Kings Mountain being the most significant examples. These pick-teams didn't stick around for very long, though. Almost all were local militia taking time away from farms and business. The song "Yankee Doodle" was invented by the British to mock these rag-tags, but they made it their own and sang it in battle.
  • Gen. George S. Patton, when taking control of the US armed forces in Africa, started by levying heavy fines for soldiers and especially officers for unkempt uniforms. By the time Patton engaged in the famed 609 Battle, he'd transformed, well, you-know-whats into bonded soldiers.
  • Another example of "folk history", this time Russian, is the Red Army, which, according to popular belief, was a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits which, during the Russian Civil War, drove out the White Army with pure revolutionary enthusiasm. While it was a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits for a short time since its creation, it was completely unsuited for combat, and only began to score victories against the Whites after its transformation into an actual army, with ranks and discipline—mostly courtesy of former war specialists from the disbanded Tsarist army, whom the Bolsheviks began to enlist after realizing that the "army of workers and peasants" ideal didn't work at all.
    • The reorganization of the Red Army was supervised by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky became the ultimate persona non grata during Stalin's rule, which may help to explain where the popular belief came from. Stalinist history textbooks obviously couldn't talk about Trotsky's role in building the Red Army, let alone the role of counterrevolutionary officers from the Tsarist period.
  • Speaking of the Russian Red Army, The 1980 Winter Olympics featured the Soviet Hockey juggernaut playing against a bunch of college hockey players who just happened to be playing for the United States. In what would become known as the Miracle on Ice, the college kids toppled the Russians 4-3, with a little help from the home crowd.
    • Canada did it first, eight years earlier.
      • With an All-Star lineup of NHL players - many of them future Hall of Famers - and in an exhibition series, not the Olympics. The Americans? Over a third of the team, including the captain, never played a minute in the NHL.
  • Real world example: grab a book about Mexican history, open it on the chapters about the 19th century and the Revolution, and you'll see at least five disorganized bands duking it out for any reason. In fact, the reason why the Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday is because that was the day when a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, led by Ignacio Zaragoza, kicked the crap out of the disciplined and well-equipped French invaders.
    • They won that battle, but lost the war.
      • No they didn't, it's true that Puebla was lost a year later but after too much complication the liberals won the war and completely squashed the competition, this time permanently. (That doesn't mean other conflicts appeared but...)
  • The Texans who won their independence from Mexico were mostly ranchers, farmers, brigands, and failed American politicians, but some of them (mostly officers) had some military experience.
    • Some even mexicans as Lorenzo de Zavala.
  • The violent Indian Freedom Fighters who fought the British were very much this. Although their role in securing Independence was fairly minor, Britain simply didn't have the resources to maintain its empire after World War II, not to mention it had very much lost the High Moral ground to Gandhi.
  • The Calcutta Light Horse were less a ragtag bunch of misfits and more a bunch of expatriate English barflies, but they did manage to infiltrate Portuguese Goa during World War II and destroy an interned German merchant ship passing radio intelligence out of neutral territory.
  • The Battle of New Orleans shortly after the end of (but still part of) the war of 1812 was basically won by one very good leader (Andrew Jackson) with a ragtag bunch of misfits. And pirates!
  • Real Life sports victory example, Wimbeldon FC's "Crazy Gang," with a reputation for pulling an assortment of practical jokes on each other and their manager as well as for playing The Beautiful Game with a very unsophisticated and amateurish style, were able to beat the much more skilled Liverpool squad in the 1988 FA Cup Final against all expectations.
  • Jesus and his disciples. They include an anarchist, a tax collector, a traitor, someone who denied even being with him, and two "sons of thunder," i.e. revolutionaries.(Although Jesus is admittedly not your traditional Hannibal Smith-type to say the least.)
  • The French Foreign Legion, at least according to all those romantic novelists...
  • Israel actually subverts this trope by taking said misfits, and organizing them into settlers and soldiers. They started out as misfits, but due to the unifying and organizing force that was the Zionist movement quickly lost that designation. Most of the country's accomplishments are due to having its Misfit Mobilization Moment very early, and most importantly, before getting involved in any war.
  • The Haitian slaves owned by France back in the Napoleonic days could be counted on to fight, argue, and fight some more. With the help of Toussaint Louverture, they managed to stop bickering long enough to kick the French's ass. Tragically, they went right back to the whole Ragtag misfit thing, and the country has languished in the third world as a result.
  • Brutally averted by the Canadian rebellions led by William Lyon Mackenzie in Upper Canada (later Ontario) and Louis-Joseph Papineau in Lower Canada (later Quebec), who were both rebelling against the nepotism and corruption of the British colonial governments of the time. Papineau and Mackenzie's "soldiers", if you could call them that, were mostly common farmers and labourers who were poorly trained and disciplined. Needless to say, the trained British troops mopped the floor with them.
  • Bolivar's army was a subversion at first (to put it simple: everybody wanted to be the leader by having indy ploys every three seconds instead of the ones they were planning for months before...), since they spent around twenty years of 'we did it!...oh, sorry, the spanish beated us again...' before deciding it was easier to free Colombia and then, with the support of a whole nation, get Venezuela free. It worked.
  • The 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants, a team literally described in the media as "a bunch of castoffs and misfits", as the roster was cobbled together throughout the year with an ever-changing lineup playing the games. Affectionately dubbed The Scrapheap Gang, these Giants were a group of inexperienced, but talented and sometimes eccentric youngsters backed up by some aging veterans and a few guys signed and given another chance to play when no other team wanted them. Late in the regular season, when they looked like they would miss the playoffs for the sixth straight year, their general manager held a private meeting with the pitchers to break them out of a slump. At the same time, their first baseman acquired a red thong that he claimed would lead them to victory. And did they ever rise to the challenge, with one of the strongest final pushes in MLB history. Leaning heavily on the strength of their pitching, particularly that of the starters and of their "unique" closer Brian Wilson (no, not that Brian Wilson), the Giants eventually notched enough wins in September to qualify for the playoffs on the last game of the regular season. The postseason would be even more dramatic, as most of their games, in sport movie fashion, would go Down to the Last Play. To boot, almost each game they won would feature an Unlikely Hero, and very often it was someone playing better than they ever had before to make up for a slumping teammate's play. To cite two prominent examples: the MVP of the League Championship Series was Cody Ross, who had been released by the third-place Florida Marlins with six weeks to go in the season. The MVP of the World Series was Edgar Renteria, an aging, injury-prone shortstop who for much of the season slumped so badly that he was reduced to being a part-time starter.
  • NFL example: If documentaries by NFL Films (such as the America's Game series) are anything to go by, the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders are likely a good example of this, at least the teams from the 70s and 80s under head coaches John Madden and Tom Flores. Featuring many castoffs from other NFL teams, players who were considered washed up, and some colorful personalities with chips on their shoulders, the Raiders were a bunch of misfits who became the "bad guys" of the NFL because of their highly aggressive play (especially players like George Atkinson and Jack Tatum). They were also a successful bunch of misfits, winning Super Bowls XI, XV, and XVIII.
  • Outcasts United by Warren St. John is a real life example of this. It is the story of a bunch of refugees who ended up living in Clarkston, Georgia (a small suburb of Atlanta), which became a resettlement center for refugees from war zones in Liberia, Congo, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. These kids eventually start a soccer team, the Fugees, with the help of Luma Mufleh, an American educated Jordanian woman. It tthe prejudice they endured and the money struggles they have, and the culture clashes (such as how in Georgia soccer is a sport associated with rich people).
  • The rebels in the Libyan Civil war. Very few of them were actual soldiers.
  • The Oakland A's in the early 2000s, as seen in the book and film Moneyball, were deliberately assembled as a championship team that the club could actually afford. This entailed culling players from "the Island of Misfit Toys", standouts in one area who flounder in others.
  • Many of the NHL's "Cinderella" teams can be described as this. The 2003/2004 Calgary Flames and 2005/2006 Edmonton Oilers could be best described as a group of talentless players (minus one or two) that played their hearts out, sacrificing their bodies to outplay everyone. By the time the dust settled, the teams had little, if any, players healthy enough to play the last games of the playoffs.
  • The 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks were branded this by the media. While the 2001 World Series team feature a group of proven veterans, the 2011 team featured only Justin Upton as the only star. But coming off a miserable 2010 they managed to grab two pitchers for players of lesser value. They also featured a pitcher that throws a baseball like a tomahawk and the player with the most tattoos in the majors. They managed to unseat the 2010 Giants as division champions, against them no less before losing in the first round of the playoffs.
  • Reddit and 4chan's /v/ board had a competition in Tribes: Ascend. Team Reddit was a well-coordinated, heavily practiced team with high-end computers; Team 4chan was a hastily-gathered team of /v/irgins run by a furry with a tripcode and a Brazilian sniper with 140 ping playing on toasters. 4chan won 3-2.

"WE WINNERS NOW"

  • The army of Chad counts as this in the Toyota War it fought against Libya in the late 1980s. Chad's army was a cobbled-together alliance of rebel and government forces who until very recently had been at each others' throats, was outnumbered and outgunned by their Libyan opponents, and was so underequipped that it had to use Toyota transport trucks to ferry its troops. Despite this, they still managed to win against the Libyans, in no small part because Muammar Gaddafi was a cross between a Modern Major-General and a General Failure.
  • The British Army lives and dies by this trope. One of the first modern armies, the New Model Army was a complete subversion (English, but the framework for the British army was laid here), made up primarily of professional soldiers who had been fighting against the Royalists...until they were only able to fill about two thirds of places. After which, the Army lowered it's standards. From then on, to about 1914, the Army was been considered the second service to the far more prestigious and skilled Navy, taking on colossal numbers of thieves, rapists, murderers and arsonists, then moving on to those who have failed their GCS Es. This trope was so prevalent during the Napoleonic Era that the Duke of Wellington noted how wonderful it was to make so much of them. This applies less to other armies as they tended to still take Peasant Levies, meaning the men were required to serve whatever their profession, or have a very elite air and esprit de corps (the French, up until 1812).
  1. even going just by what was known at the time, and ignoring things that wouldn't be revealed - or even thought up until later, like Wolverine being over 100 years old or Storm having been born in America
  2. who is an out-and-out psycho, serial killer