From the moment Trump voter fraud witness Mellissa Carone went viral last week, it was obvious that SNL was going to have Strong impersonate her in a sketch since Carone reminded many of Strong's “Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With at a Party” character. "Trying to stop Saturday Night Live from putting Cecily Strong in the cold open as the role of Carone was as futile and absurd as commanding the moon or the tides," says Matthew Dessem. That's why Slate's Lili Loofbourow warned that SNL, with its massive platform, shouldn't validate voter fraud "cranks" like Carone, who was recently on probation for harassing her ex-boyfriend. "The fact is we’re in a crank pandemic and there’s no vaccine," wrote Loofbourow. "Judging by the overnight sensation she’s become, Carone’s is a form of brashness Americans still don’t have much resistance toward. Trumpian in an extremely obvious and enthusiastic way, either by coincidence or design, she’s causing a response that echoes the way so many responded to Trump before he won the highest office in the land: laughing him off and looking forward to SNL." Dessem adds: "It is always a delight to watch Cecily Strong play someone aggressively unpleasant, even when it’s bad for America. On the other hand, the way this Saturday Night Live sketch became a historical inevitability in a matter of days was yet another reminder that we’re nothing but puppets dancing on History’s strings, frog legs twitching when the current hits, pulled helplessly through time by forces we can neither name nor understand, and haven’t we already been through enough this year?"
Credit Mellissa Carone for helping bring Cecily Strong back to SNL: "Michigan, you crazy son of a b*tch," says Karen Valby. "You went and got Cecily Strong back on SNL! Though Strong has been away filming another project for much of this season, did we really think she’d let a woman with that flat tire of an accent, with those jingle-jangled conspiracy theories, with that Goody brush-teased of an updo, slip out from under her? As Kate McKinnon’s Rudy Giuliani farted alongside her, Strong’s Mellissa Carone lit into her state representatives about Trump’s stolen bid. 'Fraudulent erection. It could still get you pregnant!'"
Strong has developed a singer’s sensibility as an SNL performer: "She can cover familiar material, like the hapless-singers-trying-to-make-a-clunky-performance-work bit the show has reskinned so many times, and make it work with her particular voice," says Jesse Hassenger. "And in that outdoor-cabaret sketch with Strong and Bowen Yang as the actual singers and (Jason) Bateman as their mildly disgruntled pianist, the performers worked their magic with some pretty decent writing that touches upon the ridiculous desperation of businesses forcing themselves to try business as usual during a pandemic."