On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Who is the Cheese Man?

On the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series, The Cheese Man is a minor and enigmatic character. Despite the fact that the Cheese Man only appeared in two episodes, he has become a fan favorite. Some fans are divided over the character, but Joss Whedon, the show’s creator, claims that the Cheese Man was intended to be a meaningless and absurd character with no complicated subtext or symbolic significance.

Although the Cheese Man appears in multiple characters’ dreams, he only appears in dream sequences, implying that he is a subconscious creation. He’s dressed in a taupe suit with round eyeglasses, a balding head, and cheese, of course. Depending on the sequence, the cheese is always sliced and placed on a tray or held in the hands of the Cheese Man. He addresses several of the characters directly, making enigmatic and perplexing statements such as “I wear the cheese.” It doesn’t bother me.”

This character first appears in the season four finale, “Restless.” In this episode, the show’s four main characters have a series of complex and interconnected dreams in which they explore their own fears and weaknesses, and the Cheese Man appears in each one, albeit briefly. In season seven, in “Storyteller,” he made his second and final appearance, in another shared dream sequence with two villains from the previous season.

Because Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired for seven seasons, there are a number of minor characters who only appeared in one or two episodes, such as the Cheese Man, and the show’s creators are occasionally surprised how enthralled fans have become some of these characters. The Cheese Man may have piqued people’s interest because he appeared in the episode “Restless,” which dealt with a lot of the show’s mythology as well as the characters’ personal struggles.

Some Buffy fans have proposed complex explanations for the Cheese Man’s purpose, claiming that he is a symbolically significant character and occasionally providing credible evidence to back up their claims. Whedon has stated categorically that the Cheese Man was included to add an element of the absurd to the dream sequences in which he appears. Given the show’s abundance of cheese references, some fans have speculated that the Cheese Man is simply a manifestation of Joss Whedon’s fondness for the cheese.