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Under Review

Clubhouse, CBS's new coming-of-age show (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.), would like very much to be The Wonder Years. Alas, The Wonder Years was set in a middle-class home in a kinder, gentler era, which excused much of the show's hokiness. Clubhouse is set in a present-day major league locker room, a location not historically known for its abundance of touching moments. Pete Young (Jeremy Sumpter) is a batboy for his beloved New York Empires. His no-good father abandoned him when he was six, so Pete now gets his fatherly advice from the likes of Conrad Dean (Dean Cain), the team's big-hearted captain, and Lou Russo (Christopher Lloyd), the crusty equipment manager. It has the makings of a talented cast, but the unrealistic backdrop is just too much for them to overcome. When Pete is pulled over driving a star's car to the shop and a cop finds steroids in the car, the kid finds himself in a pickle. Does he lie and protect the player? Of course he doesn't, and when he shows up at the stadium, not a single fan throws a D-cell battery at him. Instead they gently heckle him, and Lloyd--instead of lacing his shorts with liquid heat--tells him with a smile, "Congratulations, son. You've arrived." Such a saccharine scene might have flown in Kevin Arnold's house; at a big league ballyard, it's a bit of a stretch. --M.B.