I remember when the office first came on and I was expecting it to be another failed attempt at importing a good british show to the States. in that same year they tried with an American version of Coupling which failed miserably and Absolutely Fabulous which didn’t even make it to series. However, the formula for some reason worked for The Office. I think it is mostly cause it was the only sitcom with actual funny people. Yo have to assume that since many of the actors on the show are also the writers they must improv some lines right on the spot which works great for a mockumentary style show. There were a few moments in “Branch Closing” where you could just tell That Steve Carrell was thinking up a line that was obviously not in the script and it worked perfectly. Most likely cause that is the kind of guy that Michael Scott is, someone who would try and think up something witty to say. I really think that the Office really works because of it’s mockumentary style, interviews and all, because it sort of feels like an elongated Christopher Guest movie.
However, even though it is a differently styled sitcom, it still has many of the same elements a regular sitcom would. Right away the show goes into a power struggle between various characters as well as with the possibility to the branch closing. in every beat there was some kind of power struggle until it couldn’t go any further and had to be resolved. For Michael Scott it was first the fear of losing his job, then the fact that others would lose their jobs, then him deciding that he had to go to the home of the head of the company. It is these sort of antics that make a sitcom funny.