Pop Around Town : Yes, Mr Sze, see you tonight!

【明報專訊】When TVB's new talk show, Sze U Tonight (《今晚睇李》), debuted in late January, it quickly attracted accusation of having copied the sets and format of popular American shows such as The David Letterman Show and Jimmy Fallon's The Tonight Show. I have watched an episode of the new show and indeed noticed the striking similarities: a set with the host, Johnson Lee, sitting behind a desk, and guests in a sofa next to it, against the backdrop of Hong Kong's skyline. There is even a vintage microphone on the desk! But accusations of inauthenticity hurled to local television seem a dull point, because the tendency to emulate (模仿) American media products has not only been going for a long time, it actually reflects more the dominance of American popular culture around the world (what has been called "Hollywoodisation") than the lack of local creativity. Instead of harping on the crime of borrowing, we might look more closely at the creative efforts evident in Sze U Tonight. For one, I have rarely seen more sparklingly lively and authentic laughter from the studio audience. This can be attributed to what appears to be genuine surprises in the show: an unexpected turn in the conversation with the guests, surprise gags in the host's bantering with the band leader, and game pieces played live with secrets not even known to the host and guests. I was thoroughly entertained by the show!