As Winnipeggers prepare to kickstart their hearts with Mötley Crüe Tuesday evening, the Free Press wonders: what makes for a genuine motley crew? Is it a diversity of personalities? A common struggle against oppression? Or just a group with an umlaut or two? We search for an answer in this review of historic and/or fictional motley crews.
Combine leather, Aqua Net, multiple addictions and superfluous umlauts; mix together; snort. Voila! The epitome of '80s metal. Mötley Crüe plays Winnipeg May 7. To celebrate, let's review some other motley crews of the ages, shall we?
First, a motley crew may actually be a crew -- as seen in Joss Whedon's sci-fi series 'Firefly.' This band of outcasts was given further credibility when their show was cancelled by THE MAN.
20th Century Fox / Lucasfilm
Rebels with a cause: Leading the way in space-faring species diversity are the rebels in 'Star Wars,' a crew embracing the rag-tag participation of Wookiees, droids and galactic princesses of destroyed planets.
A motley crew often consists of underdogs, perhaps none more so than a group of hockey-playing kids from across the U.S. who must band together to defeat a hockey team from almost-totally-non-hockey-playing nation Iceland. This is Disney, so you can guess how long 'The Mighty Ducks' remain underdogs.
For those who remember radio with personality, the oddballs at WKRP faced a weekly struggle to keep their quirky independent station from going under. In the 1970s, this motley crew seemed like fodder for a sitcom rather than prophetic.
Traditionally, motley crews prevail in their battles against uniformity, bureaucracy, oppression or the establishment. The Sweathogs in 'Welcome Back, Kotter' were largely successful in their ongoing quest to stave off knowledge and wisdom.
They may have (eventually) escaped the rigours of dubious bamboo architecture, but the motley crew on 'Gilligan's Island' never got free of the show's shadow over their careers.
The heroes of 'The Wild Bunch' set the motley-crew standard for 'going out in a blaze of glory,' otherwise known as the 'neglecting to prepare adequately for retirement' financial plan.
In the 1980s, the A-Team proved that diversity meant combining the virtues of cigars, jury-rigged flamethrowers and Mandinkan hairstyles. And not much more. That said, if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.
If you mess with the bull, you get the horns. Or, in 'The Breakfast Club,' detention on Saturday, and a heartwarming release from teen subculture rivalries. Not a documentary.
Handout / CBC
'The Beachcombers,' which ran on CBC for roughly three centuries, showcased the hijinks of Canadian coastal workers. Is this crew really "motley"? The inclusion of a Greek-Canadian and a Welsh-Canadian made this a multicultural icon on Canadian TV in 1972. By modern standards, though, it's a bit of a... relic.
The mixed-bag entourage of 'Beverly Hills 90210' waged a desperate battle against boredom, five-minutes-ago fashion, and wayward coiffures. Behold the diversity of the One Percent: blondes, brunettes, and even a kid with glasses!
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And finally: Crews don't get much motlier than this -- staffers at the Winnipeg Free Press pose atop the newspaper's old building on Carlton Street in the early 1990s.