Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
"Wait, wait. You ARE a rag-tag group of adventurers with unclear goals and good hearts, right? …Yeah, you people are my LARGEST threat."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 going at each other? Yeah, them. This is usually justified in one of several ways:
— Galgarion, RPG World
- Despite their flaws, they're still the best at what they do. See Bunny-Ears Lawyer.
- They have talent but not much tolerance for traditional procedure, and/or they're the only ones who can stand to work with each other.
- Or, they are really good and not at all flawed, but really want everyone else to see them that way: making sure that the Big Bad does not realize that the Mildly Military goofballs are a Badass Crew is part of the plan.
- They're the best team that could be put together at short notice and/or budget.
- There simply isn't anyone else.
- If trouble blew up at a remote outpost, and there isn't time to get help, those characters who were Reassigned to Antarctica have to deal with it. Since they all did something to get themselves Reassigned to Antarctica, they tend to be a miscellaneous bunch.
- The villains, no fools, took out everyone that looked like they could stop their Evil Plan; this is what's left.
- In case the mission fails, they're expendable.
- Alternately, they are expected to fail, so their commander will be free to Nuke 'em like he wanted to in the first place.
- A mix of all the above, they may be sent in with people knowing they are the best, but not caring if they get killed either due to jealousy or just not liking them that much.
- Sending in more experienced/skilled/powerful teams would have drawn too much attention. Indeed, the better-suited teams may be deliberately deployed elsewhere to distract from them.
- More powerful teams would not put up with the person ordering them about.
- The authorities haven't actually noticed (or are) the problem, and the heroes have to gather whoever they can.
- There was a better first choice that DID get sent, but they screwed up badly. These guys were the backup plan nobody wanted to be forced to use.
- They need them to do something untoward or outright illegal, and they know these folks will keep quiet about it.
- They're the only ones crazy enough to even try.
- They're random survivors of some apocalyptic event who more or less stumble across each other.
- The Magnetic Hero tends to pick up whoever is willing to join him, regardless of their quirks. In fact it's often implied the Magnetic Hero is the only one that can keep the team's assorted oddities under control and them all working towards a goal.
- Fate has determined that these misfits are The Chosen Ones, and saving the world is their ultimate destiny.
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- The Charlestown Cougars, a fake women's high school basketball team assembled for the purpose of Nike commercials.
- Dreamkix is about a group of Funny Animals working to overcome their physical disadvantages and personality clashes in order to become a champion soccer team. Pretty notable when your team members include an adorkably determined Dachshund, a surly Scottish sheep, and a chicken who often forgets he's playing soccer in the first place.
- The main group from the Calvinverse: a Book Dumb Gadgeteer Genius, a Cowardly Lion, a prankster Cloudcuckoolander, a Jerkass Bungling Inventor, and finally a nerd who's also the Only Sane Man.
- The heroes in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades (or rather, one of it's side-stories A Month of Sundays): A sweet Camera Fiend who loves people's smiles, a Glee Club (with one being a Ninja and the other a Samurai), a Huge Schoolgirl who wields a vaulting pole, a cheerleader with a huge Sweet Tooth, and a Japanese Delinquent who was once a former monster called a Zodiarts.
- The protagonists in Warriors of the World: Soldiers of Fortune: a Knight in Sour Armor with a Dark and Troubled Past reluctantly teams up with a Chick Magnet Squishy Wizard, an Insufferable Genius Sexy Priest, a Knife Nut Nice Guy, a quiet Big Guy, an Innocently Insensitive Wide-Eyed Idealist and his Hot Scientist half-sister and an Only Sane Woman Church Militant. They start getting on well with each other once they determine exactly what they're meant to be doing.
- In the Sonic the Hedgehog story Prison Island Break, this is what The Lancer Sonic ends up with by having a psychopath for his cellmate.
- The protagonists in Ronman the Barbarian (a Conan the Barbarian-esque Kim Possible fanfic) are called the Breeches Bandit Gang (BBG for short). They include Ronman (a young barbarian), Ruthless (his former pet Saber Tooth Naked Mole Rat), Wadelin (a young alchemist), Moniquity (the Queen of Thieves and Royal Best Friend of Kimila), and Kimila (the warrior princess, also known as the "Red Kim").
- The Heroes story Fearless is basically a group of a soccer players, a cheerleader/former federal agent and 12-year-old veruss the Company. Made worse by the fact that only one of them has a power that could be considered offensive.
- Any time a fanfic in the Shadowchasers franchise is set around a team, they fit. Probably the most ragtag group is in Shadowchasers Backwater; Tsubasa and Rave are the only ones that are truly human, and all of them are unusual even when compared to Shadowkind either races that are incredibly rare on Earth (at least in this sort of situation) or unique beings entirely. note
- In Sonic X: Dark Chaos, Eric and the crew of the Dreadnought take this Up to Eleven - featuring Alice the Cat (a rescued orphan girl), Sonya the Hedgehog (a foul-mouthed Japanese Delinquent Wrench Wench who happens to be a former princess), Shadow the Hedgehog, Fang the Sniper, Mighty the Armadillo, and of course Eric the Hedgehog himself. They end up holding their own against Demon forces many times their size, and indirectly help Sonic and friends save the galaxy.
- Mötley Crüe got its name from this trope. Mick Mars recalled playing in another band in which a fellow member had described the group as "a motley looking crew".
- Christian singer/songwriter Rich Mullins recorded with a group known as the "Ragamuffin Band", who continued to perform together after his death. The opening track of A Liturgy, a Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band features a bit of Studio Chatter in which one of the band members admits he's barely ready to do this, which gets a laugh out of Rich and gives the listener the impression that the recording sessions were impromptu and fairly laid-back.
- The Savoyard march "Gironfla", where the Duke of Savoy musters an army of eighty peasants armed with halberds and wooden swords, gives them four cast iron cannons for artillery and twenty donkeys laden with turnips as baggage train, and nominates a 21-year old Ensign Newbie to lead the "army" to conquer France. Miraculously, they succeed. The song is based on historical events.
- 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 you, 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.
- What any player group in Twilight 2000 is. By the year 2000 US Army units included lots and lots of personnel who were hardly regular army: other NATO military personnel from defunct units, deserters from the other side, and even local recruits. The 1st edition rulebook recommends that at least half of the group be American, but anything else goes.
- 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 fan film 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 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.
- Commander Farsight's personal retinue, The Eight. Listing them off, there's Commander Brightsword note , Commander Bravestorm note , Commander Arra'kon note , Commander Sha'vastos note , Sub-commander Torchstar note , Broadside Shas'vre Ob'lotai 9-0 note , and Honour-Shas'vre O'vesa note .
- You get these every so often in BattleTech, but for the longest time the premier group of quirky but remarkably influential mercenaries was Snord's Irregulars. As the name suggests, Cranston Snord picked some rather strange warriors to form his unit in the early 3000s, with a shared common quirk of collecting—Snord himself collected valuable antiques of the Star League era. Other collections belonging to members of his unit include antique art, weapons, sports memorabilia, the records of Elvis Presley, butterflies, and harvested/preserved human body parts. There's also a bit of a joke that Snord collects weirdos as well. Snord likes to claim he collects skilled Mechwarriors, and while his troop are indeed quite skilled, Snord somehow managed to get gather together serious Bunny Ears Lawyers in the process.
- 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 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 wouldn't notice his evil plan.
- The musical 1776 portrays the signers of the Declaration this way: a mismatched and forever-squabbling bunch of ordinary people inventing a new country by the seat of their pants. The approach was lambasted by Roger Ebert and others, who didn't realize how close to the truth it actually was.
- In one of the 2008 BIONICLE web serials, Federation of Fear, the Order of Mata Nui send out a Boxed Crook suicide team to bring back a Sealed Evil in a Can with a grudge to fight the Makuta. The team consists of two mutated ex-warlords/ex-prisoners, a disgraced scientist/ruler whose name has become a byword for "failure," a Manipulative Bitch whose name has become a byword of "treachery," a Knife Nut Bounty Hunter, a Cloudcuckoolander who is actually half of another being, and an Order member stuck in a Heel-Face Revolving Door.
- A Girl and Her Fed has a main cast consisting of a hyperactive martial artist (the Girl) a 6'5 cyborg secret agent (her Fed), the ghost of Benjamin Franklin, and a talking koala.
- Crimson Dark also has the Ragtag Bunch Of Misfits IN SPACE!
- The second season of Tower of God features Team Tangsooyook (Sweet and Sour Pork Bowl in Korean). It is comprised of the Boisterous Weakling Ja Wangnan, who wants to become King of the Tower, The Proud Elite Yeon Yihwa who has insecurities because of her Power Incontinence, a young school girl, a slightly older school girl, a Papa Wolf who has a rather strained relationship with his charge, the son of a Loan Shark and mob boss who just realized that he was relatively useless, a Gentle Giant whose power is so deadly that he has to always hold back and finally, a wanted criminal who gained recent notoriety. This is going to be one smooth ride.
- Last Res0rt sees this and raises you a Reality Show. Of course, they don't really DO anything of worldly importance (yet), but still, there they are.
- Lampshaded and subverted in 8-Bit Theater, especially with the second party of worthy warriors always arriving too late to do any good or be hired for the quest.
- And again in Episode 1163 'Semantics' when they face Sarda. Red Mage confronts him and The Wizard Who Did It says "You and what ragtag band of adventurers with humorously conflicting personalities who learn the true meaning of friendship?" RM points behind him. They ran off.
- The Main Party in RPG World consists of an Idiot Hero, a thief chick who's the sarcastic Only Sane Man, two "cute fuzzy things", a prostitute mage, an extremely perverted White Hair, Black Heart, an engineer pirate with two (not so helpful) robot assistants, and a punk breakdancer.
- The Last Days of FOXHOUND portrays FOXHOUND (the Quirky Miniboss Squad of Metal Gear Solid) this way. It is played with a bit, as everyone, including the misfits themselves, readily acknowledge how unstable and insane the team is, but also recognize that they are able to accomplish feats that would be impossible for any other group.
- The Order of the Stick crew certainly qualifies. Roy is pretty competent in his own right, but his band consists of a dwarf who is convinced that trees are evil, a childish bard who is completely useless in battle until he takes a prestige class that depends on puns to be effective, a greedy rogue who constantly steals from the rest of the party, a megalomaniac elf wizard with an unknown gender, and a bloodthirsty halfling who defines Heroic Comedic Sociopath. Their evil counterparts aren't any better, either...
- And for that matter, pretty much all of the comics in the fan comic section of the forum do this too.
- Roy at one point refers to his team as trained professionals before adding "Well, semi-trained, quasi-professionals."
- At one point General Tarquin aka, Elan and Nale's father, despite being initially unaware of the composition or existence of the Order of the Stick, deduces that it is a team almost immediately upon meeting all the individual members, largely because he recognizes that when a bunch of weirdly competent but oddly diverse individuals show up out of nowhere, he can assume they're a team until it's proven otherwise.
- Xykon never directly addresses the Order as such, but when he's off buying some new magic items he asks if he can get insurance that will cover the loss if his lair is destroyed by a ragtag team of heroes.
Clerk: How ragtag are we talking, here?
- In No Rest for the Wicked, November acquires anthropomorphic cat Perrault (intentionally), the Ax-Crazy Red by accident, and Claire after they happen to rescue her from being burnt at the stake.
- The main cast of Sluggy Freelance consists of a kinda dim freelance web designer, a Mad Scientist obsessed with guns and explosives, a witch who's occasionally possessed by her Tome of Eldritch Lore, an occasional camel, a shapeshifting alien, a hyperactive ferret, and the most dangerous and evil rabbit on the face of the Earth. Despite not making it a mission to fight evil, they've actually saved the world a number of times, mostly because apocalyptic matters seem to turn up wherever they go.
- And if something doesn't turn up to endanger the world, one of them will usually end up endangering it themselves.
- Teh Gladiators features as its protagonists not the seasoned World of Warcraft veterans that one might expect, but the most improbable and possibly the least competent Arena team ever formed. Gorrok, the orc warrior, is the only actual veteran present and the Only Sane Man; his companions include Vallant, the human (sort of) hunter who's a ditz with Accidental Aiming Skills; and Spin, a Tauren hippie who has no combat skills whatsoever. They are joined at various times by a pair of lecherous murloc Mad Scientists and Leeroy Jenkins, the Trope Namer of World of Warcraft fame. Yet somehow they manage to win.
- In Electric Wonderland, a Fiery Redhead Intrepid Reporter decides to end corruption through a hard-hitting, independently published newspaper. Who does she hire to help write? An unemployed Highly Visible Ninja, a Stepford Smiler with a mushroom costume, an outcasted Magical Girl, a talking bull who's Too Dumb to Live, and a Bratty Half-Pint mermaid. At the inquiry of the ninja, the redhead reporter admitted at the end of the first issue that she doesn't have any hiring standards.
- In Nami Warriors, the main characters are definitively this, to the point that at least one of them directly acknowledges that this is the case.
- Bob and George: Lampshaded
- Pibgorn: A love-struck idiot, a homicidal digital maiden, and a omnipotent clueless succubus
- Mindflayed even had it discussed◊:
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.
- In Sinfest, Tangerine looks to be ready to form one.
- CK's crew from Commander Kitty includes Fluffy, a Cute Kitten and Cloudcuckoolander Mittens, CK's Bumbling Sidekick who's also a total slacker, and Socks, a genius ferret engineer with a serious language barrier.
- Contra Farce features one competent mercenary and three incompetent goofballs. They were the best Deputy Mayor Simmons could afford.
- In Hivebent, who gets to play Sgrub and create a new universe (Because Destiny Says So)? A matchmaking huntress obsessed with cats, a ghost obsessed with death, a bipolar oracle obsessed with computers, a serial killer obsessed with imitating her past incarnation, a budding lawmaker obsessed with tasting things, a fish princess raised by an Eldritch Abomination, a bloodthirsty nobleman mourning his recent breakup, a perpetually angry mutant who's the reincarnation of Troll Jesus, a furry bigot who builds robots, a drug addict clown...and Kanaya and Tavros, though the last two are actually kind of normal. It should come as no surprise that their section of the plot goes to hell.
- The protagonists of Stand Still, Stay Silent are shaping up to be this. They're part of an underfunded research mission into the monster-infested Silent world, so the group hiring them specifically picks people who are stupid, desperate, incredibly bored with their lives or hate their current employers or co-workers with a burning passion.
- To wit, we have:
- Sigrun, a Blood Knight and Genki Girl who considers this expedition was a nice vacation.
- Mikkel, an omni-competent and stoic Danish farmer, who also is unemployable, mostly due to his tendency to troll his surroundings mercilessly.
- Tuuri, a sheltered mechanic who desperately wants to see the world outside the fort where she grew up.
- Lalli, Tuuri's possibly autistic, strangely cat-like and mostly weird cousin. Who also happens to be a skilled night scout and a mage of frightening power.
- Emil, an arrogant Pretty Boy who is looking for a quick path to the fame and glory he considers rightfully his.
- Reynir, an Icelandic sheep farmer who ran away from home to find adventure, and got a little more than he bargained for.
- To wit, we have:
- 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. They are all fully armed soldiers who were hand pick for being one lowest scoring grunts in the military, 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.
- Though in later seasons they start to pick up several levels in BadAss, and have managed to pull off some pretty impressive feats in recent years. As of season 11, they're rumored considered to some of the greatest warriors in the galaxy.... Yeah, they couldn't believe it either.
- Turns out they aren't the only ones. In season 12, episode 10, it's revealed that Felix was lying about that.
- With the exception of Tex, who is pretty much confirmed to be the single best fighter in the series.
- Rooster Teeth seem to really like this trope. The entire cast of RWBY:
- Team RWBY is made up of a scythe-wielding, weapon-loving Genki Girl, a stuck-upper-class Jerkass Magic Knight, a cute Ninja girl who is a loner as well as a catgirl and a former terrorist, and the Genki Girl's sexy Cool Big Sis who really doesn't like people touching her hair.
- Team JNPR is made up of a loveable loser, a fight-happy batshit insane cutie with a giant grenade launcher/warhammer hybrid, a Badass Greek Hoplite Amazonian Beauty, and a really effeminate Chinese guy who's pretty much there to make sure the cute crazy girl doesn't get into too much trouble.
- 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 transgender 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 Bard, 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.
- Roll To Dodge Princess Celestia may have The Party count as this.
- The whole bunch of convicts living in the Paracelsus' Sword in the world of Einsteinian Roulette count as this, ranging from mercenaries, petty criminals and discarded experience subjects to farm boys, spoiled brats and crazy doctors.
- The entire cast of Hitler Rants. Hitler's staff includes an Ax-Crazy alcoholic, a professional map pointer, a bald man who specializes in objecting to his plans, and a guy who specializes in providing useless information. His enemies include ruthless dictators, U-Boat sailors, a psychotic demolitions expert who is determined to blow him up, and a number of little girls.
- The Undersiders in Worm were created when a handful of isolated no-name teenage supervillains were recruited via a blend of bribery and coercion by a Mysterious Employer to act as professional thieves. At various times, the members include a textbook sociopath, a Manipulative Bitch, a Justified Criminal doing it for the sake of his kid sister, said Drama Queen kid sister, a Reverse Mole, and Bitch. They manage to get the job done well enough most of the time, though, and that's all their employer asks of them.
- Then there's The Deviant Universere's premeir Super Team The Thunder Force. The first incarnation consists of a government agent with a dark past and robotic enhancements to his body, an invisible gun toting ex-news anchor, a rich treasure hunter with a magic bone necklace and a tiger striped costume, a female super speeder, a strange girl in a school girl outfit, Canada's only hero who is powered by the internet, a living beat'em up video game chick, a symbiote who is similar to both Nightcrawler and Venom only with no angst about his situation, and a chibi computer program who is programmed to destroy the world himself. The second incarnation consists of a jerkass archer secret agent, an animal shapeshifter teen boy, a male Captain America expy who uses guns and is kept alive through cloning, a female Captain America and Wonder Woman combined expy, a hero with thunder powers combined with Flying Brick abilities, and a mermaid heroine with legs joined up with the aforementioned treasure hunter in tiger print and the symbiote guy.
- The main cast of Psychronicles takes this pretty far. For one we have the Genki Girl who's also an otaku and constantly Shout-Out to other works. Next up is the overly playful Cloudcuckoolander then the Lawful Stupid Leeroy Jenkins. Finally there's the ridiculously brilliant Teen Genius Straw Nihilist. Clara and Ian even lampshades it in chapter 14.
- All of the That Guy with the Glasses anniversary specials where they team up against an enemy have them out of their depth, and even their themed costumes hardly unify them, such as when Brad Jones roleplays as Indiana Jones because "it's quest based, it counts". Lampshaded in To Boldly Flee, where one of the villains brags that only a ragtag group of Z-List internet reviewersnote could stop them now.
- The Dragon Maulers Incorporated from Fallout Is Dragons certainly qualify, blundering their way through situations that would daunt most skilled adventurers.
- The titular guild in Noob. Only Sane Man leader with a fear of Game Masters? Check. Self-centered misogynist? Check. A Manipulative Bastard and Dirty Coward package deal? Check. Stupid Good Man Child? Got that too. May I suggest adding a narcoleptic Mad Bomber or a Leeroy Jenkins Psycho for Hire to your order?
- 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 "Conjoined 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. These include a fourteen year old untrained water-bender, a fifteen year old wannabe warrior, a twelve year old spoiled runaway earth-bender and the angsty banished prince of the enemy. 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
- Stated outright in the Opening Narration of The Pirates of Dark Water: "At his side is 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 has neither social graces nor an accurate idea of human anatomy, despite being the company doctor for humans.
- Also Scruffy, the janitor.
- 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 focused (or was supposed to be focused at least) on Ben assembling a team from various Half-Human Hybrids to stop an Alien Invasion. In the finale, he assembles said team, which ends up made of himself, his Magical Girl cousin Gwen, his former Nemesis Kevin Levin, Time Travelling scientist Paradox, his Love Interest Julie and her alien pet Ship, Half-Pyronite Alan Albright, Technopath Cooper and temporary allied supervillain Darkstar. And that's just those who are in the battle from the beginning.
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.
- In the Family Guy episode "Spies Reminiscent of Us" Vladimir Putin notes the reactivation of a Cold War sleeper spy would be an embarrassment equal to, "our 1981 failed Czechoslovakian occupation outpost which was penetrated by Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and their ragtag band of misfit soldiers who didn't even graduate."
- The "Mane Six" of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. They're a graduate student taught by a Physical Goddess, a stubborn apple farmer, a hyperactive baker, a brash sound barrier-breaking flyer, a prim and proper fashion designer, and an overly shy animal caretaker. Princess Celestia, said Physical Goddess, seems to consider them to be the best team to deal with powerful threats to Equestria like Nightmare Moon and Discord (due to the Elements of Harmony) and a stubborn dragon whose smoke threatens the well-being of their country (which they must deal with without the Elements of Harmony). Nightmare Moon was defeated by the Mane Six after they had known each other for less than a day.
- In The Simpsons episode "Moneybart", Lisa tries to apply this trope to Bart's baseball team, ala the Oakland A's, but it doesn't quite work.
Bart: We're not losers! Last year we finished six and five.Nelson: And we're not lovable. We had a tall freckle-faced kid on the team that we picked on 'til he quit. Hey, Splatterface, how's the weather up there? It's too bad, cause he's a great hitter, but it's worth it.
- Phineas and Ferb: At the beginning of the second Meap episode, the animators who made the trailers to it were described as a "ragtag group".
- The Animated Teen Titans, were specifically stated to have been formed because they don't fit in anywhere else. They include the former sidekick of a violent vigilante, a half-man/half-machine hybrid, a half-demon Lady of Black Magic, a green skinned animal shapeshifter, and an alien princess.
- In the Adventure Time episode "Mystery Dungeon" we have Lemongrab, Shelby the worm, Treetrunks, NEPTR, and Ice King. They were all brought together by Ice King to help him traverse the dungeon.