PBS is soon to launch a new 6-part series we’re stoked to see. It’s called “America Outdoors With Baratunde Thurston.” Thurston is a writer, podcaster, and comedian–he helped launch Trevor Noah’s “Daily Show,” and has covered politics extensively. For him, to experience America is to experience the country’s outdoor spaces and the people who love them. His show is clearly going to be an effort to cut through the muck of difference in the country to find the common humanity, but also a deep dive into what it means to enjoy the outdoors. You don’t have to climb El Cap, for example, to be an impassioned outdoor enthusiast.
“Doing a show based in the outdoors was really the right move in terms of ways to experience this country,” Mr. Thurston said. “I got to hang out with true outdoor enthusiasts and was reminded that you don’t have to be obsessive, or particularly well-resourced, to enjoy the outdoors…
“We spent time with folks who have disabilities, and I got to be guided down a river, white-water rafting and piloted by a man who’s paralyzed. In Idaho, I was hanging out with refugee kids, mostly from Africa and Southeast Asia — part of the “Welcome to America” in Boise is hiking and taking nature walks and getting familiar with all the Americans, all of our neighbors, including the trees and the butterflies. I also met people just in their backyards who maybe don’t have the gear, the car rack, or a subscription to an outdoor magazine, but they know the value of putting their hands in dirt and growing food.”
The above quotes come from a recent Q/A with Thurston at the New York Times. Below is a clip from the show. It debuts January 5 on your local PBS affiliate.