Celebs past their prime are seeing career revivals in popular TV dramas
How do over-the-hill pop stars save their floundering careers?
In the US, reality television would be the way to go.
In South Korea, the solution is simpler - just do a makjang TV series.
Makjang is soap opera, that is filled with power struggles, bitter quarrels and family feuds.
The makjang drama that has turned me into a couch potato is Jang Bo-ri Is Here!, an addictive 52-episode concoction of switched identities, hysterics and revenge.
Currently airing on Channel U on weeknights, the ratings winner has single-handedly resurrected the fortunes of leading lady Oh Yeon Seo, who plays titular character Jang Bo-ri with wide-eyed earnestness.
Jang's life is that of a stereotypical long-suffering protagonist - rich kid wakes up after an accident with amnesia, gets adopted by a poor family, and is bullied and treated like a slave by her adoptive mother.
Her character could have ended up a caricature, but Oh dazzles with her sunny demeanour, turning in a riveting performance filled with charm and spunk. Needless to say, her efforts have paid off. She has snagged two prestigious acting awards for Jang Bo-ri.
But it hasn't always been smooth sailing for Oh.
In 2002, she was part of all-girl trio LUV, which lasted just a year.
If you do your maths, you would know it has taken Oh more than a decade to achieve her current success.
Another breakout star from Jang Bo-ri is Han Seung Yeon, better known as the dorky-looking member of K-pop quartet Kara.
Kara, unlike the hugely successful Girls' Generation, are perpetually mired in B-list territory and - embarrassingly - more loved in Japan than they are on home turf.
Thanks to Han's remarkable portrayal of naive, pampered aspiring singer Ga-Eul in Jang Bo-ri, she has won herself lots of new fans and apparently been propelled into the league of South Korea's nouveau riche.
According to entertainment website Kpopstarz.com, she recently bought a US$4 million (S$5 million) commercial building in Gangnam, Seoul, leading to speculation that she is "one of the wealthiest K-pop female idols".
And did we mention that Han is only 26?
Though I can't wait to uncover the ultimate fates of my favourite characters played by Oh and Han, I am sad to see Jang Bo-ri coming to an end. (The finale airs this Friday.)
This drama has had my mum, mum-in-law, neighbours and me hooked on its gripping storyline for the past couple of months. Come next week, we'll all be suffering Jang Bo-ri withdrawal symptoms!
Somebody please bring the cast in for a fan meet pronto.